Dental radiographs (often just called x-rays) are an important part of a regular dental exam and help us find problems not visible to the naked eye. Radiographs help us see problems that might otherwise be hidden such as: decay between teeth or under a restoration, bone damage due to an abscess, cyst or gum disease, fractures of teeth or restorations and the position of unerupted teeth in children.
Modern digital x-rays require less energy than the older films. The digital image can be enlarged for better viewing by the patient. Digital images are also environmentally friendly in that they don’t require chemicals to develop.
The amount of radiation in a modern digital image is approximately two to four tenths of a millirem to the teeth and surrounding jaw.. The amount of radiation the average person receives from all sources each year is approximately six to seven hundred millirems to the entire body. This means a diagnostic series of digital radiographs exposed the patient to roughly the same amount of radiation they receive from just living a day or two.