Why do we take dental x-rays?
Dental x-rays (or radiographs) are a valuable diagnostic tool in dentistry. The media will sometimes lead us to believe that the risk of radiation associated with dental x-rays is not worth the information provided by the actual films.
Why are dental x-rays valuable?
Dental x-rays show aspects of the teeth and jaws that cannot be seen by a dentist’s eyes alone. Some examples of this are:
- cavities in between the teeth,
- cavities underneath existing fillings,
- bone around the teeth,
- development and eruption of the permanent teeth, or
- pathology (disease) or infection in the bone under teeth.
This information, in addition to clinical data, will help a dentist formulate an informed and appropriate treatment plan for each patient. Drilling or extracting teeth without radiographs is not advised, and can ultimately lead to unnecessary problems. Imagine an orthopedic surgeon repairing a broken leg without seeing the fracture on an x-ray before heading into the operating room.
What are the risks?
The actual dose of radiation from a series of dental x-rays is low relative to other activities such as spending a day in the sun or riding on an airplane. We appreciate that the dose is not zero; however, we also feel that the benefits of dental radiographs outweigh their risks. As always, Dr. Perusini and the staff at Avenue PD encourage an honest and open discussion with parents and caregivers regarding their child’s treatment.