Digital Dental X-rays
We live in a world with many natural sources of radiation. We are exposed to radiation from the earth itself, naturally occurring radon in the air, from outer space, and from the food and water we consume. This radiation is measured in units called millirems. (mrems) For the average person, naturally occurring sources of radiation contribute about four to five times as much as man-made sources. The average annual radiation dose to a member of the general population from all sources is about 360 mrems.
The American Nuclear Society gives some calculations for common activities:
2.5 mrem – flying cross country
16 mrem – living in a state that borders the Atlantic coast
40 mrem – consuming food and water
1 mrem – watching tv or using a computer which uses CRT technology
18 mrem – smoking ½ pack of cigarettes every day
42 mrem – x-ray – Mammography
1000 mrem – CT scans (whole body)
0.5 mrem – standard dental X-ray
0.1 mrem – digital dental X-ray
International Standards allow exposure to as much as 5000 mrems/year for those who work around radioactive material.
The recommended frequency of dental X-rays depends on several factors – your age, current condition and history. Some patients may need X-rays every 6 months while others with low risk for dental or gum disease may only get them every couple of years. Dental x-rays are a useful diagnostic tool to:
- show areas of decay not visible with an oral exam, especially between teeth
- identify decay under an existing filling
- reveal bone loss that accompanies gum disease
- reveal an abscess
- reveal other developmental abnormalities
Given the small amount of radiation emitted by digital dental X-rays, the benefits clearly outweigh the risks.
Dr. Vanik employs the use of telescopic loupes with light and magnification which enable him to see fine details that would be invisible to the naked eye. These help him to give specific detailed attention to the particular area in your mouth under care.
An intraoral camera brings the smallest details into focus and allows you to have increased understanding when discussing your treatment options. We connect the camera directly to a computer screen in the operatory to clearly see the condition of the mouth in need of restoration.
TekScan is dentistry’s only digital occlusal analysis system. (Occlusion simply means the contact between your teeth – the way your teeth fit together when your jaws are closed – your bite) TekScan uses special sensors to reveal the level and timing of force on individual teeth and the occlusal stability of the overall bite, enabling us to better understand how to adjust restorative work to protect its longevity and comfort.
Electronic health records (EHRs) help to improve the quality of care, efficiency and access as well as safety and security. Our office is a digital office, meaning all x-rays and patient charting are maintained via computers. Maintaining your dental records electronically allows for quicker access and more consistent charting methods as well as the ability to quickly and securely share your records with other health care providers.