Many patients are concerned about X-rays. They want to know how many dental X-rays we take, and if X-rays are really necessary.
My own mother is concerned about radiographic exposure. She wants no X-rays unless absolutely necessary. In all fairness, she has not had a cavity in over 45 years… not even a small one in the 15 years I have been her dentist. She has also never had any tooth pain.
Imagine my surprise when we fount out she had huge dental swelling and an abscess! The specialist and I were baffled.
The X-ray taken at several angles did not really reveal anything. In cases like these, we order a cone beam (or CBCT) which takes a 3D scan of the entire head, and slices it into many views, much like an MRI. Although this tool involves significantly less radiation than an MRI, it is still higher than a full set of X-rays.
Using a 3D view, we found a HUGE abscess on one of her dental roots, one that if we had not found, could have resulted in not only the loss of the tooth, but also infection in the brain or sinuses.
So please…. when your dentist truly feels X-rays are needed, allow them to be taken.
There are often things brewing below the surface that we can not see with naked eye clinical examination – until it may be too late.