Digital X-Rays: Your Dental Detective
Good dentistry takes detective work. Of all the special tools we have that help us detect potential problems, the most effective is the radiograph, or x-ray. You might think of an x-ray as a dental detective, as it magnifies what the eye can’t see, exposing tooth decay that hides between teeth, under the gumline, or under fillings and caps. An x-ray can also reveal bone loss caused by gum disease, abscesses, cysts, tumors, and even early signs of cancer. Our rule of thumb? It’s always easier and less expensive to prevent or treat dental disease in the early stages than it is later when it can cause serious damage.
X-rays have been an essential part of dentistry for decades. Taking these images allows us, your dentist in Washington, DC, to accurately diagnose and treat problems. Without them, it would be impossible for our team to see inside of and between your teeth, both of which are areas not visible during your routine dental exam. They help us see the roots, the gumline, and the bone level of your mouth.
How did x-ray technology evolve?
X-rays were first discovered in the late 1800s by Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen, a university professor in Germany. One of his first experiments – using the power of electromagnetic radiation – was to x-ray his wife’s hand. However, the first real use of an x-ray was for industrial purposes – Roentgen developed a radiograph of weights in a box.
Fast forward nearly 100 years later… It wasn’t until the mid-1980s when digital dental x-rays first appeared on the clinical scene. Almost all dental practices today rely on digital imaging to take their patients’ x-rays as it offers many important advantages.
- A digital x-ray emits a special low-level radiation (up to 90% less radiation) similar to the type of background radiation you receive from the sun, the earth’s crust, various types of food, and even the air we breathe. At our practice, you can take comfort knowing that we will inform you as to why an x-ray is necessary. Rest assured, we don’t take them simply for the fun of it!
- Unlike film-based x-rays, digital x-rays do not require chemical film processing, therefore, there’s…
- no harmful environmental waste – and here at Barbara Baxter DMD, that’s a good thing because we care about our planet!
- results are instantly available
- enlargement for clarification is easy (and there’s no distortion) – this ensures the best, most accurate diagnosis
- we can use them as teaching aids, helping us to explain the situation to you – we take pride in keeping all our patients informed about what is happening with their smiles. You want to feel confident in us and the care we provide you. Most patients are fascinated by seeing the image on screen and find the visual helps them understand exactly what’s happening in their mouth.
- easily emailed to your insurance company – this eliminates the need to send paper copies, which speeds up the process of submitting claims.
- efficiently stored in our records and recall is quick – and we can also send them to referring dentists or consultants at the click of a button.