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From Our Experts: Martha Answers Questions About Dental X-Rays

DENTAL X-RAYS ARE an important part of your regular check-ups, but some patients have questions about them. We decided to have Martha answer some common questions about dental radiography.

“Why Are X-rays Necessary?”

Not everything that goes on inside your mouth is visible to the naked eye. X-rays help us detect and diagnose decay between teeth, on hard-to-reach surfaces, and under existing dental work. Effective oral care is about prevention and early intervention. It’s essential that we discover and diagnose the earliest sign of a problem. We want to keep your mouth as healthy as it can possibly be, and preserve your natural teeth. X-rays help us do that.

“Are X-rays Dangerous?”

Dental x-rays are one of the lowest radiation doses possible. A routine exam which includes 4 bitewings is less than one day of natural background radiation. It is also about the same amount of radiation exposure from a short airplane flight (~1-2 hrs).

“Are They Safe For Children?”

A good example of very safe use of x-rays in children is a set of two or four bitewing radiographs, depending on the number of teeth in the child’s mouth. Bitewings are indispensable for detecting decay between the back teeth where cavities can hide. They are very safe, exposing a child to less radiation than he or she would receive normally each day from natural background sources in the environment: The number of bitewing sets that are necessary per year depends on your child’s risk of tooth decay, but they should be spaced at least 6 months apart.

“What If I’m Nursing Or Pregnant?”

Teeth cleanings and dental X-rays are safe for pregnant women, according to new recommendations issued by The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Ob-gyns are now being advised to perform routine oral health assessments at the first prenatal visit and encourage their patients to see a dentist during pregnancy.

Do You Have More Questions?

We’d love to answer them! Ask below, or bring it up next time you come in to see us. We always want you to be comfortable and confident in the care that we recommend.

Thanks for being our valued patients and friends!


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