There are some people that don't want to imagine their dental condition(s), they just want them fixed as comfortably and conveniently as possible. That is fine with us – we will always make our recommendations based on the best treatment available, and answer any questions you may have before any dental treatment is offered.
Other patients feel more comfortable if they thoroughly understand their dental condition(s). Each of our patient rooms is equipped with a patient monitor that makes it easy for you to see your own chart. Our records are computerized, and we use digital images. We feel that this makes it much easier for our patients to understand their oral condition(s), why treatment is recommended, and how the treatment will work. Together we will evaluate your clinical condition and determine the best treatment available to address it.
In order to provide our patients with the highest quality of dental services, we use dental radiographs, or x-rays, in our office. These radiographs provide us with invaluable information about your oral and dental health.
While radiographic equipment does utilize radiation to produce required images, modern advances in technology are continually reducing the amount of radiation that is necessary. In fact, studies have shown that the amount of radiation produced by these machines is not significantly higher than other "normal" sources of radiation that we are exposed to on perhaps a daily basis, such as radiation from televisions and airplanes.
Using digital sensors for our x-ray film, we are able to reduce the amount of radiation to around one tenth the amount needed to successfully create a dental x-ray using traditional x-ray film.
X-rays work on a simple principle: the X-rays are stimulated and sent through the mouth. When these rays pass through, they are absorbed more by the bones and tooth structure in your mouth than the gums and other soft tissues, creating a picture of how the teeth inside your mouth are positioned, as well as any potential areas of disease or decay in or around your teeth.
While this radiation is very minimal, it is still recommended that pregnant women avoid any unnecessary X-rays. However, pregnant women may also more vulnerable to gum disease, so x-rays may be recommended, in which case proper precautions would be taken, such as using a lead apron and thyroid collar.
As they say a picture is worth a thousand words, we find this is very true in dentistry! Another type of digital imaging our office utilizes is digital photography. We use photography to help improve our communication with our patients. We use a traditional camera to take images of faces and smiles, and an intra-oral camera to take images of individual teeth. An intra-oral camera is a tiny camera that easily fits into a patient's mouth. We have these in each patient room so that during an appointment we are always able to show the patient what their tooth or teeth look like. It is difficult to see into your own mouth to visualize a compromised tooth or area. Trying to imagine what it looks like, even with drawings or sketches, is not always possible. When we have a photo to show patients it becomes easy for them to understand why treatment has been recommended.