X-Rays and Radiation

What are they and why do we do them?

What are X-rays?

X-rays (radiographs) are commonly used during dental procedures. It is an image created by electromagnetic waves of energy passing through an object (like a tooth) and reaching the receiving material (film). This results in an image of a structure and allows us to view the internal composition of the object to a certain degree.

Why are radiographs used?

Radiographs are primarily used as a diagnostic tool in dentistry. Try as we might, during a full examination, we cannot see every surface, like between teeth or underneath fillings. Radiographs help us visualise what is happening and can show us if there is anything abnormal occurring in or around your teeth that may be a concern. During procedures like root canal treatment or extractions, radiographs allow us to see the size, shape and orientation of the roots and the root canal system to help minimise any potential complications.

What is Radiation?

Radiation is the energy that travels through the structures to create the final image.

Although many people associate radiation with x-rays and nuclear energy, there is natural radiation everywhere. This is known as “background radiation” and comes from space (cosmic radiation), the earth and from living organisms. In fact even sleeping next to someone at night exposes you to a small degree of radiation.

How much Radiation will I be Exposed to?

To put things into perspective:

Average dose/year or as noted (mSv)
Sleeping next to someone for 8 hours
Single dental Radiograph at Queen Street Dental
Air Crew on Domestic Flights/year
Average Background Exposure/year
Air Crew on International Flights/year
Abdominal X-ray
Sleeping next to someone for 8 hours/year
Full Body CT scan

Will you stop sleeping next to your partner or no longer travel by plane? Dental radiographs in comparison are low dose, particularly at Queen Street Dental where we use digital radiographs that require less exposure.

Do I need radiographs?

Radiographs are only recommended when they are required. There is minimal risks associated with dental radiographs however we do keep exposure to a minimum where possible.

If a radiograph is recommended it means that it will be beneficial in the diagnosis and treatment of the tooth/teeth in question.

Here at Queen Street Dental we understand the concerns patients have regarding X-rays. If you have any questions at all please contact us.

Phone:           08 8346 1587