Digital X-rays (Radiographs)

Safer X-rays in our Redmond, WA Dental Office

X-rays are one of the most important tools the dentist has. The ability to see inside of tooth and bone is invaluable. In fact, there are very few procedures I do without reviewing an X-ray first. They are used to find tooth decay, periodontal disease, infections, and many diseases in the bone.

Despite the advantages, there is still widespread apprehension to radiographs. To many, radiation is a very scary thing, but low doses are natural and cannot be avoided. Much of our surroundings as well as sunlight contribute to our exposure. Food, smoke detectors, and building materials all emit radiation. The EPA estimates that the average person receives 620mrem of radiation per year from their environment.

Safety of Our Radiographs

Our office uses digital X-rays which require much less radiation than traditional film. In fact it’s up to 80% less than some other types of film. One digital dental X-ray is equal to .5mrem of radiation. You would have to have 1240 dental X-rays in a year to equal the amount of radiation you receive from just living on the planet. The maximum annual dose allowed for workers in the US is 5,000mrems.

Even though the exposure from our X-rays is low, we only take them when they are needed and use all precautions to limit exposure. Our equipment is evaluated and tested every year to make sure it is in proper working order.

Additional Benefits of Dental X-rays

Digital X-rays have other benefits as well. I routinely send images by encrypted email to specialists for evaluation. Many times the specialist decides that they do not need to see the patient which saves them time and money. Also, digital images can be shown and enhanced on computer monitors. This is very helpful to educate patients about treatment.

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