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X-rays are a diagnostic tool that can help dentists identify signs of tooth decay, and other issues, so they can be treated at early stages.
Your child’s dental care wouldn’t be as good without X-rays. At Smiles First Dental, X-rays are one of our best tools for finding and treating tooth decay.
But since X-rays emit radiation, you may be wondering if your child in any danger when they’re exposed to X-rays?
The answer is, the risk from X-rays is small, but our commitment to the health of our patients means that we do whatever we can to mitigate even the very minor risk that X-rays represent.
Different Types of X-Rays
Intraoral X-rays – the most common form of X-ray – produces images of the mouth interior, showing details of teeth and supporting bones.
Extraoral X-rays – Taken outside the mouth, these X-rays focus on the larger bones in the head, particularly the jaws. These images help us monitor the condition of the jaw joint and to identify problems such as impacted teeth.
A typical use of dental X-rays for kids is the creation of bitewing X-rays. Bitewings are named for the small tabs or wings attached to the films or sensors that the child bites on. They are vital to finding decay between the back teeth.
Panoramic radiography gives an overall picture of the entire mouth. Panoramic X-rays show the condition of the teeth, the state of the upper and lower jaws, and surrounding tissue and structures. They are used to inspect teeth and supporting bone and assess the state of wisdom teeth.
Orthodontic X-rays are images of an entire side of the head. These images can be instrumental when planning corrective orthodontic treatments.
hat are the potential dangers of X-rays?
X-rays use ionising radiation in small doses, and such radiation can potentially cause long-term cumulative damage. The key word here is “cumulative” as it is not individual X-rays that are the problem, rather it is the accumulation of exposure to radiation over time.
It is, therefore, best to use X-rays only when needed, especially in children, who are more susceptible to damage from radiation for three reasons; Being smaller means organs are closer to X-ray sites, children are generally more vulnerable to radiation than adults, and radiation exposure at a young age has a more extended period of time over which to cause potentially harmful cell mutation.
Here is a short list of various radiation exposures based on comparison to days of natural background radiation (from the sun, soil, etc.):
- Airline Passenger (4-hour flight) is equal to 1 day of natural exposure
- 2 Dental Bitewing X-rays is equal to 1 day of natural exposure
- 1 Dental Panoramic X-ray is equal to 1 day of natural exposure
- 1 Dental Cone Beam CT is equal to 2-20 days of natural exposure
X-ray safety at Smiles First Dental
In the “Radiation Protection Series”, published by the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA), the Australian government recommends that when taking X-rays, “Particular emphasis should be placed on minimising the radiation exposure of children.” This is because children are more sensitive to radiation than adults, and the space between the X-ray site and organs is shorter in children.
These are principles Smiles First Dental works by.
At Smiles First Dental we follow an acronym, ALARA, when using X-rays. ALARA means “as low as reasonably achievable,” meaning the doses during an X-ray session will be as low as possible while still gaining the most benefit, and if it is possible to treat without X-rays, we never insist on them as mere ‘routine’ practice.
For your safety, all X-rays performed at our practice are digital, these X -rays are virtually instant and provides a much lower dose of radiation to the patient. This type of X-ray is recommended every 1-2 years and is essential in maintaining good oral health.
Also, we are sure to use other diagnostic tools before deciding an X-ray is needed. Before deciding to take x-rays, we examine your child’s teeth for signs of decay and discuss your child’s nutrition, oral hygiene, and other issues related to the possibility of decay. If we have reason to suspect that your child is at risk for tooth decay, X-rays may be called for.
By balancing the needs of diagnostics with the needs of the patients, and using digital X-rays, Smiles First Dental assures that your children’s dental and overall health is optimised!
Dental Care at Smiles First Dental
Smiles First Dental is your trusted dentist in Northmead in Greater Western Sydney. Your oral health and the appearance of your smile are important to us. Our highly trained staff treats all dental issues, including complicated problems related to other health conditions.
Our commitment to our patients is maximised dental health and a stunning smile.
We make life a little bit easier for our patients by offering late hours on weekdays and weekend appointments.
Call (02) 9630 9996 or visit us at 19/5-7 Kleins Rd in Northmead.