X-rays are an essential part of any oral health care treatment plan.
Also called digital radiographs, dental x-rays can diagnose problems while they are still so small they cannot be seen by the naked eye. This means your dentist or oral surgeon can deal with issues while they are still small and more comfortable to treat—as well as less expensive.
Whether you are visiting the dentist or the oral surgeon, you’ll find that x-rays are an essential part of your treatment plan. An x-ray is one of the most valuable diagnostic tools your oral surgeon will use to create an accurate treatment plan. Without digital radiographs, problem areas could easily go undetected—until it’s too late.
What Are Digital X-Rays?
Chances are, you’ve had digital x-rays taken at your general dentist’s office. Your oral surgeon uses the same technology, which an electronic device that captures a digital image rather than using film the way old-fashioned x-rays do. The digital image is immediately visible on a computer screen, and your oral surgeon can enlarge the image to see the tiniest details.
Digital x-rays are easily duplicated, so if your insurance company is waiting for an x-ray before approving treatment, we can email the image. This often means you won’t have to wait for needed treatment, and your claim may also be paid more quickly.
Types of X-Rays
There are two general types of x-rays, taken inside and outside of the mouth. Intraoral means "inside the mouth." These x-rays provide a detailed view of the teeth and jawbone, as well as the soft tissues of the mouth.
Extraoral means "outside the mouth," and these x-rays are primarily used to see problems in the jaw and skull. Panoramic and cone-beam CT scans are two of the most common types of extraoral x-rays.
The Safety of Dental X-Rays
X-rays do expose patients to tiny amounts of radiation, but most people are exposed to more radiation in their natural environment—from the sun, for example. Digital x-rays produce much lower levels of radiation than their old-fashioned counterparts.
Not only do they emit less radiation, but they are quicker to take than film x-rays so patients can have peace of mind regarding their safety.
To further ensure your safety, your oral surgeon will limit the number of x-rays to those that are necessary and will take extra precautions, such as using a lead apron on patients during the procedure.
The Frequency of Dental X-Rays
This will depend on your situation. We will take only those x-rays that are necessary based on our initial examinations, the symptoms you are experiencing, and your medical and dental history.
At Burnham Oral Surgery, Dr. Michael Burnham, Dr. Anne Stearns, and their team are happy to provide the most up-to-date technology to make your visit more comfortable, more efficient, and more accurate, and digital x-rays are a part of that plan. Call us today to make an appointment.