391B Orchard Road
#08-08 Ngee Ann City Tower B
Singapore 238874 (Orchard MRT)
Tel: 65-6737 2777
Fax: 65-6735 7765
Dental radiographs (x-rays) are essential, preventive, diagnostic tools that provide valuable information not visible during a regular dental exam. Dentists use this information to safely and accurately detect hidden dental abnormalities and complete an accurate treatment plan. Without x-rays, problem areas may go undetected.
Dental x-rays may reveal:
- Bone damage caused by an infection or a cyst
- Bone loss due to periodontal (gum) disease
- Decay on the contact areas of the teeth, or below fillings
- Developmental abnormalities
- Tooth and root positions (including impacted and unerupted teeth)
- Problems inside a tooth or below the gum line
- Some types of tumours
Detecting and treating dental problems at an early stage can save you time, money, unnecessary discomfort, and your teeth!
Are dental x-rays safe?
We are all exposed to natural radiation in our environment. The amount of radiation exposure from a full mouth series of x-rays is equal to the amount a person receives in a single day from natural sources.
Dental x-rays produce a low level of radiation and are considered safe. Dentists take necessary precautions to limit the patient’s exposure to radiation when taking dental x-rays. These precautions include taking only x-rays that are necessary and using lead apron shields to protect the body.
How often should dental x-rays be taken?
The need for dental x-rays depends on each patient’s individual dental health needs. For general oral health screening of a patient who visits his dentist regularly, diagnostic dental x-rays such as panoramic (OPG) and bitewings are taken once every 2 years. Your dentist will recommend necessary x-rays based on the review of your medical and dental history, dental examination, signs and symptoms, age consideration, and risk for disease.
DIGITAL X-RAY TECHNOLOGY
Digital dental x-ray technology has been available since the late 1990’s. They offer the advantage of an 80 percent reduction in radiation, no need for film or processing chemicals, production of a nearly instantaneous image, and the ability to use colour contrast in the image. Dental digital x-ray systems can take a picture of your teeth, then almost immediately show it to you on a computer monitor. You no longer have to wait for X-ray films to develop. Your on-screen picture will look like any typical dental X-ray image, but bigger. One of the advantages to having a digital
X-ray is that it allows our dentists to zoom in on a single tooth, rotate it, sharpen it and enhance the image – thereby giving them access to important information about your teeth and the surrounding structures.
Digital x-ray systems operate much like traditional x-ray systems. A small, flat sensor is placed in your mouth. Some sensors are connected to a computer by a thin wire, others which are not connected by wire feel like traditional x-ray films. Next, an x-ray beam is sent through your teeth and into the sensor, which records the image of your teeth. This information is transferred to and stored in the computer.
There are a number of reasons why it is better to use digital x-rays. Because the digital dental x-ray system is more sensitive than the traditional x-ray film system, your exposure to x-rays is cut by up to 80 percent. The large and quality-enhanced images let you see what your dentist sees, so it’s easier for you to understand your condition and how your dentist will treat your teeth.
Dental x-rays are an important tool in the diagnosis and treatment of dental problems. They do not, however, replace the need for a visual examination of the head, neck, TMJ (jaw joints) and oral cavity. It is only with a combination of both the x-ray and the visual examination that the dentist can best treat his or her patients.