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Digital Dental X-ray Exams Lower Radiation Exposure

Computers are a part of daily life. They also play an important role in our dental office. We use computers to track your appointments, treatment details and insurance records. We also use them to capture, store and transmit your dental x-ray images.

Many diseases of the oral cavity (which includes the teeth and surrounding tissues and bone) cannot be seen by the eye alone when the dentist visually examines your mouth. An x-ray exam may help the dentist see what is happening in areas that the eye can’t see, such as:
. small areas of decay between the teeth or below fillings
. bone damage from a tooth infection (such as an abscess) or a cyst
. bone loss due to periodontal (gum) disease
. developmental defects
. some types of tumors
. the effects of trauma
. the position of unerupted teeth in children and adults

Finding and treating dental problems at an early stage can save time, money and unneeded discomfort and help prevent more serious health problems. X-ray images may be able to help the dentist detect damage and disease not visible during a regular dental exam.

Our practice uses digital x-rays because they have many benefits over film x-rays. Digital x-ray images can be simpler to make, provide enhanced pictures and can save time for the dental team. They also make it easier for us to show these images to you, our patient.

Digital imaging uses an x-ray machine like that used for traditional dental x-ray images made with film. But instead of using film in a plastic holder, digital images are made using a small electronic sensor that is placed in your mouth to capture the x-ray image.

There are many benefits to using digital dental x-ray images.
. Digital x-ray images may require less radiation. Even though conventional dental x-rays required a small amount of radiation, digital x-rays use even smaller amounts making them safer and more appealing to those patients concerned with radiation exposure.
. When the digital x-ray image is exposed, it can be sent directly to a computer and viewed right away. For x-ray film to be exposed, a staff member must process it in special chemicals. This takes longer than simply viewing the x-ray on a computer screen.
. Digital x-ray images can be enlarged on the computer screen. This makes it much easier for you and the dentist to see the pictures. Traditional x-ray films are viewed actual size.
. Digital x-ray images can often be corrected without having to make another x-ray exposure.
. The dental office can print or copy your digital x-ray images. They can also be sent electronically to insurance companies, which may help claims get processed faster.
. Digital x-rays are environmentally friendly. They eliminate the need for film and film processing chemicals.
Dental X-rays and Safety Concerns
The main concern about being exposed to radiation is the risk of getting cancer years later. Dental x-ray exams require very low levels of radiation exposure, which makes the risk of potentially harmful effects very small. Dental X-ray exams have radiation levels equal to 2 to 3 days of naturally occurring background radiation.  For example, a set of bitewing x-ray images creates only a small fraction of the radiation you are exposed to when flying on an airplane. Chest and spine x-rays and CT scans have much higher levels of radiation.

Digital dental x-ray tools and techniques are designed to limit the body’s exposure to radiation. Dental practices limit the area exposed during a dental x-ray exam by limiting the size of the x-ray beam to the size of the film or sensor being used and by using a leaded apron and thyroid shield that x-rays cannot pass through.

Our office is committed to the safety of our patients and their oral health. We invest in the latest digital x-ray technology to minimize the exposure of radiation to our patients. Dental x-ray exams are an important part of your oral health care, don’t put them off because of unwarranted safety concerns. If you have any questions concerning how often dental x-rays exams should be performed or would like more information regarding the safety and benefits of digital x-rays please contact our office at 239-482-8806.

*source: American Dental Association

PORTO FINO DENTAL
239-482-8806
6805 Porto Fino Circle
Fort Myers, Florida 33912

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