Peters Dental Associates believes in the highest standards of dental x-ray hygiene. Dr. Peters has invested heavily in the most modern dental x-ray equipment available. Our 3D scanner reveals aspects of dental/facial anatomy never seen before in dental offices while reducing the x-ray emission to very low levels. Dr. Peters reviews this scan in great detail with each patient. This image, combined with 4 very low dose digital bitewing images, gives Dr. Peters all the diagnostic information needed at the first appointment. Bitewing images are retaken at 6 to 12-month intervals, and 3D scans are taken at 3 to 5-year intervals as prescribed by Dr. Peters.
What do these digital images detect?
The superior quality of digital images reveals many pathologies in facial structures.
- Bone loss
- Cysts and tumors
- Impacted teeth
- Genetically missing teeth
- Sinus abnormalities
- Airway passage abnormalities
- Tooth decay
- Abnormal tooth development or structures
- Poor tooth and root positions
- The health of the TMJ
What are bitewing x-rays?
The name derives from the wing-shaped device you bite down on while these x-rays are taken. Bitewings deliver visuals of both the lower and upper posterior teeth. Bitewings are effective for spotting decay between teeth, to check the condition of bone around the teeth, and to assess the fit and integrity of dental restorations such as crowns and fillings. They are very useful for spotting decay in areas that would be difficult to see visually.
What is a panoramic 3D dental scanner?
These comprehensive x-rays provide a view of the teeth, jaws, nasal area, sinuses, and jaw joints. Panoramic x-rays are excellent for following the progress of descending teeth in children and wisdom teeth in teens and young adults. They also give Dr. Peters an ongoing overview of the patient’s jawbone health and the alignment of the teeth. Panoramic x-rays are an important part of planning the placement of dental implants.
What happens during a dental x-ray?
X-rays are also known as radiographs. X-ray energy passes through soft tissue and is absorbed by dense tissue. What does that mean in your mouth? Your teeth and your jawbone are very dense, so they absorb the x-ray energy, while it passes through the soft tissue of your cheeks and gums. This enables Dr. Peters to, in effect, see through your gums to get an idea of what is going on with your tooth roots and jawbone.
For our bitewing x-rays, we first cover your chest with a lead apron. This blocks your body from receiving any x-ray energy. Next, we place a bitewing in each quarter of your mouth, one at a time. This holds the sensor so that the x-ray can be taken in a specific part of the mouth. You bite down lightly on the bitewing and we take the x-ray, which only delivers energy for a tiny fraction of a second. We then move the sensor to the next quarter and repeat it. When we have your full mouth, you’re done.
For our panoramic 3D x-rays, the machine rotates 180 degrees around your head. For these images, you stand and place your chin upon a chinrest. The machine then briefly pivots around your face from ear to ear, making a complete image of your entire mouth, jaw, and sinuses. The entire process only takes a minute or so.
Are dental x-rays safe?
At Peters Dental Associates, our two x-ray systems are both digital. Digital x-rays deliver such a low dose of radiation compared with old film x-rays that the impact is negligible at best. Don’t believe it? A set of 4 bitewing x-rays delivers less radiation than a person receives from one day’s exposure to natural background radiation. This background radiation comes from the sun, cell phones, the Earth (terrestrial radiation), even the air (all air contains radon). It is also about the same amount of radiation exposure as what you receive from a short airplane flight. Oh, and that airport scanner you headed through prior to your flight? It delivers 80 times the radiation you’re getting from your dental x-rays.
Dental x-rays have been shown to deliver the lowest amount of radiation of any x-rays studied. In other words, their benefit for diagnostic use in your future oral health is of extreme value with almost no risk.
Is it safe to get dental x-rays while pregnant?
It is not advised for women who are pregnant to get any type of x-rays. Although the amount of radiation in our digital x-rays is minimal, as described above, routine x-rays can wait until after you deliver. However, x-rays are often necessary to perform many dental procedures, particularly emergencies. The American Dental Association and the American College of Obstetricians both say that dental x-rays during pregnancy are considered safe with appropriate shielding. The American College of Radiology says that no single diagnostic x-ray has a radiation dose significant enough to cause adverse effects in a developing embryo or fetus.
Are dental x-rays safe for children?
Radiation doses with digital x-rays are so low that they are considered safe for all adults and children. This was true even with film x-rays, but digital x-rays deliver just a fraction of that radiation. Their value as a diagnostic tool far outweighs any minuscule risk.
Are dental x-rays covered by my dental insurance?
Regular dental x-rays are an important part of any preventive dentistry plan. They are covered by dental insurance plans.