One of the biggest breakthroughs in dentistry, and radiology as a whole, was the advent of digital radiographs. Digital radiographs not only instantaneously processed an image but also reduced time, man power, and exposure to harmful chemicals when processing traditional films. It even reduced the amount of radiation exposure to our patients.
X-rays, or more formally, radiographs, are essential for dentists to diagnose several things like: the amount of bone around your teeth, decay in between your teeth that can't be seen clinically, and if any infection is brewing at the tip of your tooth root. We also use the panoramic radiograph, or the “big head scan” x-ray, to check your jaw bones, sinus, and even neck to make sure nothing menacing is brewing where we can’t see.
How much radiation am I getting?
An individual intra-oral dental radiograph emits 0.005 millisieverts (mSv) of radiation
Yearly radon exposure from your home is 7.50 mSv, 1,500x’s more radiation than a single dental radiograph
A single full body CT scan is 10 mSv, 2,000x’s more radiation than a single dental radiograph
Even a cross country plane ride is .025 mSV, 12’x more than a single dental radiograph
Even though dental radiographs are relatively safe and risks are very low, we still take maximum precaution when prescribing how many radiographs to take for your exam. We practice ALARA: As Low As Reasonably Achievable, which means we strive minimize exposure to radiation well below actual dose limits. Here at McAdams Dental, we use the lowest possible exposure which reduces the amount of radiation exposure 12x’s less than traditional film radiographs.
Not every one gets the same number of radiographs, some people need more, some need less. We do our best to individually manage risks and benefits when prescribing the amount of radiographs for our patients.
In short, dental radiographs emit low radiation and are necessary to help us make the most accurate diagnosis to keep your mouth as healthy as possible.
Are you looking for a dentist that strives to balance your specific needs with high tech diagnostic tools to keep you safe and healthy? If you are in the Phoenix / Scottsdale area and are looking for a dental home for your whole family...maybe we are the office for you...we would love to meet you!
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