Periodic x-rays (radiographs) are an indispensable tool in achieving our goal of early disease detection. This is another area were dentistry differs from general medicine. Physicians are trained to take x-rays only when problems are suspected. Their radiographic protocols are therefore reactive. X-ray protocols in dentistry are proactive, and intended to detect problems before they can be detected with a visual exam. This different mindset in dentistry is permissible largely because of the extremely minute radiation dosing that occurs with dental x-rays.
All x-rays (radiographs) taken at Osborne Family Dental employ digital sensors rather than chemical plated film. Digital x-rays have substantially reduced the already low amount of radiation necessary with conventional film. Approximately ten digital x-rays can be taken before producing the exposure associated with one conventional dental x-ray.
Osborne Family Dental takes it even one step further with the new ProMax panoramic unit. The ProMax, manufactured by PlanMeca, is the first panoramic x-ray machine capable of taking the types of films used to detect tooth decay. When using the ProMax, it is not necessary to place any uncomfortable sensors in your mouth. One radiograph provides the information that used to require ten to twenty individual images taken with uncomfortable intra-oral sensors. The result is an incredibly efficient radiographic technique that gives more diagnostic data, with no discomfort, and amazingly little radiation exposure. Patients are smiling a lot more since this unit came into our office!
Osborne Family Dental conforms to the x-ray protocol recommended by the American Dental Association and essentially every accredited dental college in the United States. We take routine screening x-rays of the back teeth once annually. A more thorough full mouth radiographic exam is performed every three to five years, and on all new patients.
Radiographic regimen is often modified slightly based on a patient’s level of risk and dental history. However, occasional x-ray screenings are so essential to providing adequate dental care, that we strongly discourage patients from refusing x-rays.