A complete set of X-rays is the first step in a thorough dental examination. We use the X-rays to find cavities between your teeth, tartar on the roots, worn-out fillings, receding bone levels caused by periodontal disease, and other conditions we cannot find with a clinical exam alone. Without X-rays, we wouldn't be able to detect these problems until they had become severe and caused serious damage.
To begin, we'll place a lead apron over your upper body to protect you while we take the X-rays. Then we'll place a small packet of X-ray film inside your mouth and ask you to bite on the tab on the side of the packet to line the film up properly. This ensures that we'll get a clear picture of your upper and lower teeth at the same time. We'll repeat this process eighteen times, placing the film in various places in your mouth. Once they're completed, we'll have a complete picture of your entire mouth.
We use special high-speed film, which minimizes your exposure to radiation. Though machines vary, a complete set of dental X-rays taken with an average X-ray machine adds only as much radiation as you'd get from about eight extra weeks of natural background radiation.
X-rays are a necessary part of regular dental checkups. They give us vital information that we can't get from any other source, and they allow us to treat dental problems before they cause serious damage to your dental health.