Dental X-rays and Radiographs are most used for Routine Dentistry such as decay, Fillings and Gum problems and to look underneath teeth, fillings and between tooth and gum for tartar or calculus, as well as in Advanced Cosmetic Dentistry or Specialist treatments involving Dental Tooth Implants, mini Implants, immediate Dental Implants, Crowns, Bridges, Veneers, Precision Dentures, Tooth Bleaching, Teeth Whitening, Cosmetic Bonding, Latest Ceramic Restorations, Persistent Gum Diseases, Tooth wear and worn, uneven teeth, Periodontal Plastic Surgery, TMJ's, Difficult Occlusions, Excessive Wear Cases, Root canal treatment, Trauma and Dental Emergencies, to help Diagnose problems and/or eliminate possible causes of trouble!
What are X-rays?
X-rays are ionising radiation that can pass through human bodies and make an image (picture) on radiographic film. In Dentistry, this is useful to look underneath teeth and gums, where the Dentist cannot normally see. Dental Radiographs can be small films in the mouth, or larger films that are taken outside the mouth, such as OPG's. Although the X-ray dose for Dental films is much, much smaller than that of other kinds of X-rays, Dental staff will go as far away as possible when taking these, because they do many (thousands) of these in their working lifetime.
Your Dentist takes Dental X-rays so they can find:
Cavities within or between the teeth
Worn-out fillings or gaps around bridges and crowns
Tartar and deposits on the roots or below gums
Shrinking bone levels and root apex abscesses
Here's a Xray showing a buried extra tooth (supernumerary) which is displacing the roots of the other teeth around it:
I'm worried about Xray doses - what about Dental Xrays?
Well, you are right to always look at ways of reducing Xray dosages, however, in Dentistry we use some of the most advanced technologies such that now a small Dental Xray dosage is equivalent to only 1 or 2 days background radiation. What that means is that whatever radiation dosage you get (from outer-space landing on our planet) by walking around outside in 2 days of your everyday life, is the amount of radiation we use. A larger full-mouth Xray may be about a week's worth of background radiation. It all adds up of course, but if you take a flight to Spain then this is the same "extra" radiation dosage as a full-mouth Dental Xray, to put it in proportion. Thus Pilots and Dentists have to take extra precautions because we are exposed to radiation every working day, but patients (and passengers) are relatively very safe indeed when we are talking about "occasional" Xrays (or flights) every year.
This hand-held machine is supposed to be safe for dentists to take the Xray stood next to the patient too, as the doses are so low and it's just battery operated. Indeed so low are the doses in Dentistry, that the Guidelines say it is even OK to continue to take Xrays when Female patients are Pregnant, because they would get the same dose walking around outside, however please be assured that ALL Xrays would only be taken to check for disease and not doing that could have higher risks by missing some infection or problem that could affect your general health negatively too.
Looking at the Graph below, you'll see that the number of Xrays we have is higher for Dentistry (not surprising really), but because they are such low dosages, the OVERALL radiation dose collectively, makes Dentistry one of the lowest sources of radiation overall.
Whose Property are Dental Xrays?
Normally even though you may have paid a fee for Dental Xrays, they belong to the Dental Practice taking them - you are in effect paying for the taking and reporting on them. Records generally are handled differently than in Medicine (where they may follow you to a new Medical Practice), with each Dentist starting up their own up-to-date records, charting and where needed, Xrays too.
However you can get a copy of your records if you wish, but there is a fee normally charged for this. Interestingly Dental records are often used to identify bodies in mass disasters and because people often visit several Dentists, a charting is usually available somewhere and your teeth are so unique, they can be used for ID where no other means (eg: after a fire) may be available!
Xrays are an excellent tool therefore in identifying Dental Problems early (thus allowing prompt and effective treatment) as well as in other circumstances too.
3D Dental Xrays now available!
CAT scans ( Computerised Axial Tomography) or CT scans were the only way to get a 3D image or 'slice" view through bone and tissues, to give more information than standard 2D flat Xray techniques usually use, but these CAT Scans use much more radiation doses and whilst they can give further information, one has to balance that against the much greater radiation doses involved, thus they are not indicated for every case routinely.
Now, however, there is a new Technology called CBCT (Cone Beam Computerised Tomography) which can be used in Dentistry, uses a much lower dose than traditional CAT Scan machines and only a little more than standard 2D Xray techniques. Remarkably CBCT images are actually clearer than CAT Scan images despite using much lower doses, mainly due to advances in Computer Programmes able to rebuild images from lots of tiny doses from lots of different directions.
The advantage of these 3D images is that once taken, you can integrate them with the Computer for different image slices, measurements and views, even from behind the tooth where one's normal 2D machine couldn't physically get to for a picture. See some example 3D sliced images below:
Want more Dentistry information?
You can use the above website menu or just click-a-link here for Specialist or Advanced aspects of Cosmetic Dentistry, Tooth Veneers, Tooth Whitening, Dental Tooth Implants and smaller Mini-Implants, Dental Ceramic Crowns, Gum Diseases and Bad Breath, Root Canal treatments or Dental CPD Courses, are just some of the subjects you can learn more about here on our award winning dental website www.smilespecialist.co.uk.
To Access our Specialist Expertise, whether travelling from London, Glasgow, Dublin or New York etc, contact:
Dr.A.Kilcoyne BDS;LDS;MGDSRCS(Eng);M.Med.Sci.(U.Sheff.); FFGDP(UK)
Specialist in Prosthodontics (UK), GDC Reg.No.58373
SmileSpecialist® Centre, 9-13 Station Rd, Haworth, Keighley, West Yorks. BD22 8NL UK
Telephone 01535 644005 to make that "Special" appointment today!
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Nearest Airports are Leeds/Bradford (12 miles) 40mins drive away or Manchester (40 miles) 1hr20mins away
Nearest Mainline Train Station= Keighley (3 miles)
or Leeds (18 miles)
(Historical Steam Railway operates Easter to Autumn, Keighley to Haworth. KWVR)
Taxi £6 from Keighley to Haworth
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Or just put our postcode BD22 8NL into your SatNav.
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*Dr.Kilcoyne is a UK registered Specialist in Prosthodontics (GDC No.58373) which includes The Functional and Cosmetic Dentistry aspects of Crowns, Dental Implants, Bridges, Veneers, Fillings, Dentures, Bonding etc. Please go to our MAKE an APPOINTMENT page if you'd like to access his Expertise 2020-2021.