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Picturing Dentistry Without X-Rays
Family Tree Dental Group Examines the Risks and Benefits of Dental X-Rays
“Radiation from modern dental x-rays is drastically lower when compared to those x-rays from 50 years ago, which is when many of the survey respondents were visiting dental offices. Dentists have been at the forefront for years to minimize radiation exposure. New x-ray advancements have cut radiation doses by more than half over the last few decades. Our offices also use the latest digital imaging, which even further reduces the exposure,” said Dr. Chad Denman of Family Tree Dental Group. “In terms of traditional radiation measurements – REM (Roentgen Equivalent Man) – a modern, single dental x-ray exposes a patient to about 3 millirem, which is the same exposure as received during a cross-country flight. In other words, it’s minimal.”
Dr. Denman advises patients to engage their dentists about x-ray use instead of practicing avoidance. The American Dental Association maintains a set of guidelines for recommended use, which includes full sets of radiographs (up to over 20 individual films or a large panoramic film and two to four "bite wing" films) for all new adult, adolescent and many younger patients. Every three to five years after, smaller sets of "bite wing" films should be taken to update records. New full sets are repeated periodically depending on the patient's dental condition. For example, a young adult without any history of cavities may not require an annual x-ray exam. On the other hand, someone with a history of severe decay and poor eating habits would benefit from regular bite wing radiographs to find new decay earlier. Patients with dry mouth may also require more frequent x-ray examinations.
Medical x-rays of all types are vital to providing proper healthcare diagnoses. Without dental x-rays, doctors would often be unable to detect impacted wisdom teeth, bone problems, oral cancer, infection, cavities between teeth, development of teeth, or the need for root canals. Modern medicine would come to a halt without the benefit of x-rays. Caution – not fear – and a good dialogue with one’s dentist is the recommended treatment plan for all patients.
Family Tree Dental Group was founded in 2011 by Austin/Round Rock dentists and identical twin brothers Drs. Chad and Shelby Denman to provide high quality dental care in a state-of-the-