Dr. Alex Krempa, Mobile, Alabama dentist says,”X-rays are a wonderful diagnostic tool.” Without high quality x rays, many diseases would not be treated until end stage. The images produced during an xray allow the doctor to diagnose both early and late stages of disease. Beneficially, x-rays allow treatment during early stages. This treatment afforded by x-rays is often easier, faster, better, and cheaper-a perfect combination.
X-rays, also known as radiographs, are used in multiple applications. In dentistry, this radiation energy is passed from a tube through the object of interest(your teeth) and absorbed by a sensor. While some of this energy is scattered and absorbed by objects that the x-ray was not intended for, the majority of the energy is absorbed by the object of interest. The levels of x-ray radiation are much less than found in other medical applications. Additionally, routine sun exposure accounts for much higher doses than administered in health care settings.
X-rays have received bad press, however, every time an x-ray is prescribed by a licensed doctor, the risk of adverse effects of having an x-ray are weighed against the risk of not taking an x-ray. The decision goes like this: the chance of having disease(like a dental cavity) that an x-ray could identify is approximately 50%. However, the risk of the x-ray causing a disease is considered much less than 1%. The two main fears of x-ray use are radiation sickness and mutations(cancer). During appropriate use of x-rays, the chance of having either of these issues is extremely rare. When a doctor believes the benefit of a radiograph is greater than the benefit of not taking a radiograph, an x-ray is prescribed. Thus, the benefit of taking an x-ray is typically great, while the risk of taking a x-ray is low. Thus, when prescribed properly, x-rays benefit your health when they identify disease that can be treated.
While it is clear that x-rays are needed to provide great health care, reducing exposure and the effects of x-rays are important to dentists and patients. Recently, many x-rays have become digital. Through advances in technology, the amount of radiation used is dramatically reduced. Furthermore, x-rays have become more focused as a result of a technique called collimation. This limits the radiation dose a patient receives. With proper care the use of x-rays for most people is beneficial and safe.
For more information, please check out the ADA’s website:
Alex Krempa, D.M.D.
6350 Airport Blvd.
Mobile, Alabama 36608