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Springbrook Family Dentistry
Panoramic x-ray of pediatric patient

Why do I need dental x-rays? Are they harmful?

January 31, 2020
Posted By: Jennifer Finney
Panoramic x-ray

One of the most common questions we get from patients is regarding radiation exposure during dental x-rays. The good news is dental x-rays have come a long way and the radiation exposure is extremely minimal!


First, let’s discuss the importance of dental x-rays. Dr. Finney can visually check for many things such as cavities and gum disease visually, but this does not give her the full picture. Many problems are found in between the teeth, under the gums, or even in the bone. The only way we can see these issues is with dental x-rays. Below are some of the things we check with x-rays:



  1. Small cavities: Cavities in between the teeth can usually only be seen visually once they are very large. X-rays allow us to detect them while they are small and can still be fixed with a simple procedure like a filling.

  2. Infections: Dental abscesses show in x-rays around the root of a tooth. Because we cannot see the root of a tooth from looking in your mouth, x-rays are necessary to see this area.

  3. Orthodontic issues: The development of your child’s mouth can be tracked with a panoramic x-ray. This allows us to check that all the adult teeth are developing as they should and are in the right place to come in properly. If we notice an issue with a tooth we can address it earlier which may lead to a better outcome.

  4. Periodontal issues: X-rays allow us to see where your bone levels are relative to your teeth and check for buildup in between the teeth and under the gums so it can be properly cleaned off.


Now that you understand WHY we need to take x-rays, here’s a comparison of the amount of radiation you receive. Our office only provides digital x-rays as the amount of radiation compared to traditional film x-rays is much lower. 


Now while radiation for dental x-rays is very low, we still do not want to expose you to anymore than necessary. Please be assured that if we recommend a dental x-ray we are doing so because we feel it is in your best interest and we will never recommend taking one for no reason. If you have any questions you would like answered regarding dental x-rays, please do not hesitate to call our office!

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Dear patients, friends and family,

In light of recent events surrounding the Corona Virus/COVID-19 and the guidance of our national and state dental societies, we will be rescheduling all 6 month cleaning appointments and any elective dental treatment over the next few weeks.

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At this time, we have NO known cases of COVID-19 among our staff. Dental offices are at extreme risk for propagation of the virus due to the large number of aerosols created during dental procedures, as well as the close proximity we are in to our patients. Therefore we will continue to adhering to the highest levels of infection control.

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