One of the most powerful tools your dentist has to help diagnose and treat dental health issues is the use of x-rays. Dental x-rays let your dentist see what’s going on, not only on the surface of your teeth but inside them, as well as inside the gum and jawbone areas to help determine a tooth’s growth and progression as well as overall health.
Traditional dental x-rays were performed by your dentist or dental technician using a special film that reacted to the x-rays passing through your teeth and gums; today’s digital radiography uses a sensor to capture images in much the same way, but without the wait for the film to be developed. In addition, modern digital radiography procedures use considerably less radiation — as little as 10% of the amount used to create x-ray images with traditional film procedures.
Obviously less radiation is better than more — although for most patients who were getting x-rays at most twice a year, there was never in any danger from developing radiation-related problems even with the film-based x-rays. But for patients who need more imagery because of particular conditions or procedures they are undergoing, having 1/10th the amount of radiation involved is of course a good thing.
In addition, today’s digital radiography images are of considerably higher resolution; they can be easily manipulated by your technician or dentist on their computer, as well, allowing them to change lighting and contrast in ways that help them diagnose small problems well in advance of them becoming big ones — the proverbial “stitch in time” that can keep dental issues from becoming worse. X-rays are important to your dental health, and today’s modern digital imagery gives your dentist a better tool than ever before to help keep your teeth at their best.