Madison 608.274.5970
DeForest 608.846.3302

Madison 608.274.5970
DeForest 608.846.3302

Madison
608.274.5970

DeForest
608.846.3302

X-Rays

Key to Prevention

An Important Part of Preventative Care

Dental radiographs (x-rays) are an important part of preventive care. An x-ray provides essential information about your teeth, bone, and tissue. Many oral diseases can’t be detected on the basis of a visual and physical examination alone. X-rays allow your dentist to evaluate areas that can’t be seen with the naked eye and to diagnose developing decay and disease. They are valuable in helping to detect and treat oral health problems at an early stage. We balance the need for x-rays and patient safety with our ultimate goal being your improved overall health. An x-ray is taken only if there is a health benefit we cannot provide without it.

A dental radiograph exam can reveal the following:

  • Developing areas of decay between your teeth and below existing restorations
  • Bone loss due to periodontal (gum) infection
  • Bone destruction from a tooth infection (for example, an abscess or cyst)
  • Some types of tumors
  • The effects of trauma
  • The position of unerupted teeth in children and adults
  • Developmental abnormalities

Early detection of these conditions will help reduce the need for extensive dental procedures.

Commonly Asked Questions About X-Rays

How often should I have x-rays?

Like any other aspect of your dental treatment, dental x-ray examinations are scheduled on an individual basis depending on your oral health condition, age, risk of disease, and other signs and symptoms of oral disease you may be experiencing. Your dentist will review your history, examine your mouth, and then decide whether or not you need x-rays. We follow the American Dental Association’s guidelines when recommending dental x-rays. In general, cavity detecting x-rays are recommended once per year and a full mouth series of films or panelipse x-ray is recommended on a five to ten year interval, as needed, to assist in the overall evaluation of your oral health.

What are digital radiographs? And do you use digital radiographs at Madison Family Dental Associates?

At Madison Family Dental Associates your family dentist utilizes digital radiographs, the latest in dental x-ray technology. Digital x-ray imaging involves the use of a radiography machine like that used to create a regular dental x-ray made with film, however because a much smaller amount of radiation is needed the exposure dose is adjusted to a lower level. Also, instead of using film, your Madison Family dentist makes a digital image using a small electronic sensor that is placed in the mouth to capture the image.  The image is transmitted to a computer processor and the image can be viewed almost instantly on the computer screen.

What are the advantages of digital radiographs?

They reduce your exposure to radiation. Because digital sensors can detect radiation better than film, much less radiation is required to capture the image.

  • They are environmentally friendly. Digital radiographs eliminate the need for film and film processing chemicals that generate environmentally harmful waste.
  • The x-ray image can be enhanced or magnified on the computer screen. Viewing an enhanced radiograph can better allow your dentist to see a problem area.
  • Your digital radiograph can be printed or copied easily, or it can be electronically transmitted to your insurance company, another dentist, or dental specialist. This often eliminates the need for additional films to be taken. It also provides for better communication between your family dentist and the dental specialist or your insurance company.
  • They are less time consuming for you.  There is no waiting time for film to be developed.

Are Dental X-rays safe?

Dental radiographic examinations require exposure to very low levels of radiation, which makes the risk of potentially harmful effects extremely small. We are always exposed to background radiation. It comes from the air we breathe, the sky above, the ground below, and the food we eat. It is natural to our environment. From information gathered from Radiologyinfo.org, we receive an effective dose of 3mSv per year from naturally occurring radiation. A single dental x-ray exposes you to 0.005mSv of radiation, which is equivalent to approximately one day’s worth of background radiation. Compare this to a CT scan of the abdomen, which is 15mSV or approximately five years’ worth of background radiation. If you have further questions regarding radiation, we encourage you to go to Radiologyinfo.org, a radiology information resource for patients developed by the American College of Radiology and the North American Society of Radiologists.

What safety precautions does Madison Family Dental Associates take for dental x-rays?

  • Utilizes the latest in digital x-ray technology, which significantly lowers exposure as compared to conventional film x-rays.
  • Uses a leaded apron and thyroid shield (most x-rays are stopped by lead).
  • Limits the size of the x-ray beam to approximately the size of the sensor.
  • Recommends radiographs based on your present oral health, your risk of disease, and the signs and symptoms of oral disease you may be experiencing.
  • Follows the American Dental Association (ADA) guidelines for x-rays.

Why are digital x-rays important?

It is all about preventative care. A dental radiograph examination can reveal the following:

  • Developing areas of decay between your teeth and below existing restorations
  • Bone loss due to periodontal (gum) infection
  • Bone destruction from a tooth infection (for example, an abscess or cyst)
  • Some types of tumors
  • The effects of trauma
  • The position of unerupted teeth in children and adults
  • Developmental abnormalities

What if I’m pregnant?

Dental radiographs may be necessary in some cases to diagnose and treat emergency situations that could be harmful to both mother and child. Fortunately, the risks of dental x-rays are low, and your dentist will provide you and your baby with the appropriate protective measures (e.g. lead apron).