Question 1: Why dental x-rays?
Question 2: What are the different types of dental x-rays?
Dr. Singh: There are several types of dental X-rays, which record slightly different views of your mouth. X-ray can be film based (old technology) or
There are intraoral X-rays, such as
There are also Extra-Oral X-rays (where no film is placed into mouth). These can be two dimensional (2D)(Panoramic) or three dimensional (3D) CT scans. Less
Question 3: How often should I be getting check-up dental x-rays done?
Dr. Singh: The frequency of getting"check-up" X-rays of your teeth often depends on your medical and dental history and current condition. If you are in general good oral health, the recommended frequency is once every 6 months, and for Complete Oral Exams (which include a full-mouth series and panoramic x-ray), once every 3 years.
X-rays are very important in the diagnosis of emergency problems and therefore additional non-check-up X-Rays are taken when necessary.
Question 4: Are there any negative
Dr. Singh: While dental X-rays do involve radiation, the
Question 5: What are the actual radiation levels or effects of dental x-rays in comparison to other types of necessary medical imaging?
Dr. Singh: Dental X-rays are very targeted. Unlike conventional X-rays on other parts of the body (which usually take a picture of a large area), dental X-rays are very targeted to a small part of the body. In fact, it's typically shot via a cone (like a laser) so that it can be very focused. This ultra-precise targeting (plus your protective lead apron) ensures that just a small part of the body receives the minimal dose of radiation. The exposure is very small compared to other types of X-rays. A millisievert (mSv) scale is used to measure doses, you could expect 0.038 from Bitewing X-rays, and 0.150 from a full mouth X-ray. In comparison to other types of X-rays:
Lower Gastrointestinal Tract - 4.060
Chest x-ray - .80
Avg. natural background radiation in the US (per year) - 3.00
With digital x-rays, Dental x-rays emit even less radiation. In some cases, up to 80 percent lower. You receive more radiation by just "living" than you do by going to your dentist.
Question 6: Will my insurance company
Dr. Singh: In most cases yes, the insurance company does cover the cost of all necessary x-rays and imaging required at your dental appointment, however, in some cases based on your individual insurance plan, not all necessary x-rays and imaging are covered. An insurance company might limit the number of X-Rays that they will pay for, but this has nothing to do with them being necessary and everything to do with them limiting the amounts that they have to pay their subscribers.