I take quite a number of intraoral radiographs or Xrays in my daily practice.Most of the time it is the routine few that I need to take in the course of root canal treatment for my patients.I also take them very often to help me diagnose an existing  condition or when I suspect that there is a condition.It is such an essential part of my practice that it is without a doubt that a dentist cannot practice proper dentistry without an Xray facility in his or her office.

Occasionally I get the question of “Is is OK to take so many Xrays?” when I take more than a couple for one patient,which is quite normal in the course of a root canal treatment. I give them the assurance that intraoral Xrays are really extremely low in the radiation it emmits.

An intraoral Xrays emmits an estimated 0.009 mSV. (A millisievert (mSV) is a unit of measure that allows for some comparison between radiation sources that expose the entire body (such as natural background radiation) and those that only expose a portion of the body (such as radiographs). Don’t worry if you do not understand this statement,neither do I!!). Compare that to a chest Xray which emmits approximately 0.080 mSV. This is using conventional Xray films.In the advent of modern technology,we are now moving towards digital Xrays and the radiation used for digital Xrays are reduced by between 70-80%.

Dental radiographs or Xrays are images taken when Xrays pass through your mouth during a dental examination.

How it works is when the Xrays are taken,more rays are absorbed by teeth and bone,which are more dense than the cheeks and gums. The image created is called a radiograph. This can be in the form of a film or an image on the computer screen.

Teeth and bony structures will appear lighter whereas tooth decay, infections and signs of gum disease will, appear darker because of more Xray penetration. Dental fillings  may appear lighter or darker, depending on the type of material used for the particular filling.

Your dentist will be able to observe and  interpretation  these radiographs and can therefore come to a more accurate diagnosis.

Dental  Xrays can provide essential information about the condition of our teeth and our jaw. It is also imperative as a record in the event of identification of a particular individual,for example in forensic cases.

Dental Xrays can show small areas of decay between teeth or under an existing filling,which is usually not detectable by your dentist in the mouth.It can also show bone loss due to tooth infection or gum infection.Some tumours and cysts are also visible from dental XRays,and certain developmental abnormalities can be detected from them. They are also very useful for determining the position of unerupted teeth in the jaw.In cases of trauma,dental XRays play a vital role in observing possible fractures and also the position of the fracture lines.

Hence,we are able to detect and treat many dental conditions in the early stage.

I probably sound redundant,but,dental Xrays are really something we dental practitioners  cannot do without if we want to provide proper dental care to our patients.