Dental Radiation and Your Health

Last week’s posting touched briefly on whether radiation from dental X-rays is detrimental to your health. This week we want to discuss this topic a bit more in depth and hopefully address any of your concerns. During a routine exam most people receive four bitewing X-rays, though panoramic dental X-rays, those which are obtained by the machine rotating around your entire head, are becoming more popular since they are much less invasive.

Ellis Dental X-Ray Bite

Ellis Dental X-Ray Bite

Four bitewing X-rays will give off around the standard amount of radiation received in a normal day. Sources of radiation for most people include being outdoors, standing next to an operating microwave oven, cooking with natural gas or living in a brick home. The panoramic X-ray produces about double that, which is still a very small amount compared to other X-rays taken.

The American Dental Association has specific guidelines on dental X-ray frequency. These recommendations address everything from new patient X-rays to the fact that for an established patient with no dental concerns, the need is less frequent. One major guideline that has been added over the years is in addition to the standard lead chest apron, a thyroid shield covering the neck should be used, especially in young children.

Radiation Exposure Chart
Radiation Exposure Chart

Bottom line is, and I think the majority of you will agree, the benefits of dental X-rays certainly outweigh the very small amount of radiation received; especially now that it has been proved certain dental conditions can cause serious overall health concerns.

Ellis Dental takes both your dental and physical health seriously and we welcome your comments and questions. Please call 314.695.1334 or check us out online for more information or to schedule your next appointment.

Benefits of Dental X-Rays

Ellis Dental Pano X-Ray

Ellis Dental Pano X-Ray

Teeth are tricky. Most people assume that when you look at a tooth you are seeing it almost in its entirety but that’s not true. Only about one third of the total tooth is located above the gum line. And while certain things, mainly pain, alert us to when things go wrong, by taking precautionary measures and having dental X-rays done on a regular basis, many times concerns can be discovered and corrected before becoming a painful problem.

When you join our practice as a new patient a complete set of X-rays will be taken so we can see, if in fact, there are any underlying challenges, as well as possibly determine procedures that have been performed in the past. And X-rays don’t just tell what’s going on with your teeth; they also allow us to see the surrounding tissue.

Advantages of dental X-rays include:

Discovering decay that may not be seen during a normal oral exam.

  • Checking for bone loss from possible gum disease.
  • Decay can still occur under a pre-existing filling. An X-ray can detect this.
  • Exposing infections, abscesses, cysts and in some cases of tumors.
  • Dental X-rays also aid in certain dental procedures including implants, bridge placement and the status of wisdom teeth.

For those of you concerned with possible exposure to excess radiation, we here at Ellis Dental are totally committed to your overall health and safety. Please feel free to discuss any reservations you may have at your next appointment.

Looking for a caring family dental practice in the Crestwood area of St. Louis? Ellis Dental is presently accepting new patients. Visit us online for more information or call 314.965.1334, we can’t wait to meet you!