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Picturing Dentistry Without X-Rays

04-23-2012 09:19 PM CET | Health & Medicine

Press release from: Family Tree Dental Group

The recent study connecting the tumor known as meningioma (located in the lining tissue of the brain) to radiation exposure from dental x-rays has given patients another reason to be wary of dental visits. Although the study from researchers at the School of Public Health at Yale University (as published online in the journal Cancer) was conducted by survey (a weak and sometimes inaccurate scientific method of analyzing data), the results are still an important reminder that excessive exposure to x-rays and radiation can cause damage. But how does today’s dental x-ray affect the human body?

“Radiation from modern dental x-rays is drastically lower when compared to those x-rays from 50 years ago, which is when many of the survey respondents were visiting dental offices. Dentists have been at the forefront for years to minimize radiation exposure. New x-ray advancements have cut radiation doses by more than half over the last few decades. Our offices also use the latest digital imaging, which even further reduces the exposure,” said Dr. Chad Denman of Family Tree Dental Group. “In terms of traditional radiation measurements – REM (Roentgen Equivalent Man) – a modern, single dental x-ray exposes a patient to about 3 millirem, which is the same exposure as received during a cross-country flight. In other words, it’s minimal.”

Dr. Denman advises patients to engage their dentists about x-ray use instead of practicing avoidance. The American Dental Association maintains a set of guidelines for recommended use, which includes full sets of radiographs (up to over 20 individual films or a large panoramic film and two to four "bite wing" films) for all new adult, adolescent and many younger patients. Every three to five years after, smaller sets of "bite wing" films should be taken to update records. New full sets are repeated periodically depending on the patient's dental condition. For example, a young adult without any history of cavities may not require an annual x-ray exam. On the other hand, someone with a history of severe decay and poor eating habits would benefit from regular bite wing radiographs to find new decay earlier. Patients with dry mouth may also require more frequent x-ray examinations.

Medical x-rays of all types are vital to providing proper healthcare diagnoses. Without dental x-rays, doctors would often be unable to detect impacted wisdom teeth, bone problems, oral cancer, infection, cavities between teeth, development of teeth, or the need for root canals. Modern medicine would come to a halt without the benefit of x-rays. Caution – not fear – and a good dialogue with one’s dentist is the recommended treatment plan for all patients.

Family Tree Dental Group was founded in 2011 by Austin/Round Rock dentists and identical twin brothers Drs. Chad and Shelby Denman to provide high quality dental care in a state-of-the-art environment with careful attention to detail and deep personal respect. Family Tree Dental Group helps maintain the oral health of patients of all ages and cares for all dental needs under one roof. For more information, call 512-458-5999 (Austin), 512-310-5999 (Round Rock) or visit www.FamilyTreeDentalGroup.com.

Family Tree Dental Group
5310 Burnet Rd, Suite 108
Austin, TX 78756
Daniel Harvell
512-458-5999

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