The radiological examination constitutes an indispensable part of the diagnostic procedure in modern dentistry. A deeper glimpse into the jaw is simply not possible just by means of a visual inspection, which results in dentistry seeking assistance from the field of radiology in order to diagnose the conservation status of the teeth as well as to guarantee proper preparation prior to operations.
In the course of this imaging technique, the teeth are X-rayed by means of electromagnetic waves for a short period of time. At this point, physicians can take full advantage of the fact that human tissue exhibits varying densities and therefore absorbs X-rays in different forms. As a result, an image consisting of a shadow as well as of illuminations is generated, enabling the dentist to gather significant information. While the diagnostic procedure usually concentrates on one individual tooth, a high-resolution “dental film“ is usually produced in this case. Should a larger overview of the entire jaw area be required, a method by the name of Orthopantomography (OPG) comes into play.
X-Rays contain a high degree of ionization which also tends to occur in radioactive materials. In higher doses and long exposure, X-Rays may very well become dangerous for humans and lead to cancer. For this reasons, many modern dental practices tend to work with digital X-Ray systems no longer dependent on conventional X-Ray film in order to further reduce the radiation exposure.
Therefore, X-Ray images should be used sparingly, without however completely foregoing this method. Instead, advantages and disadvantages should be considered carefully and realistically. X-Ray examinations contribute to preserving teeth, bones, and gums. The radiation exposure exerted by an X-Ray examination is similar to that during several hours of air travel. In case of any concerns, please do not hesitate to bring this up to your dentist!