It is easy for us to worry about our health. Our social media and news outlets are constantly bombarding us with dangerous scenarios where we could be under attack from invisible sources. If we believed all of these scare tactics we would never use a microwave, talk on our cell phone, or go to the dentist and get an x-ray. Be rest assured that our world is not as scary as it may seem.
X-rays can cause concerns regarding radiation exposure to our bodies. Yet these invisible rays of energy save lives every day without doing any harm. In terms of dentistry, x-rays are needed to detect abnormalities that the dentist and hygienist cannot detect visually. The importance of finding these abnormalities or infections is crucial. If caught early enough, unnecessary pain, treatment and progression can be prevented.
The difference between x-rays and normal rays of light are basic. Rays of light do not have enough energy to penetrate you, whereas x-rays do. Both have the ability to take pictures; light takes photos of the surface of an object while x-rays take pictures of the objects’ insides. Now, the thought of energy “passing through” you might be what scares you the most; however, the logic behind the fear doesn’t necessarily hold up. A unit of measure for radiation is a rem. According to The National Council on Radiation Protection (NCRP), the average person in the U.S. receives about 360 mrem every year. We receive this exposure from outer space, radioactive materials on earth, and even small amounts of radioactive material we consume in most of our foods. Now here is the shocking comparison: a typical dental x-ray image exposes the human body to about 2 or 3 mrem. However…We use Extremely Low Dose Digital Radiography, which uses one tenth of the dosage of a traditional x-ray film.
That being said, it is also important to understand the benefits of these dental x-rays. It is sometimes difficult to identify decay between teeth and fillings. X-rays can see right through everything. Other problems that can be found are bone loss and possible abscesses. Village Dental in Florida recommends scheduling routine exams to address these issues early on. It is common for patients to have no symptoms until the condition becomes severe. This causes the solution to be more difficult, not to mention more expensive to fix. Also, the incidence of periodontal disease increases with age and is another reason why it is important to take x-rays.
Cancer is an ongoing problem in today’s society with an almost unlimited number of potential causes. It is easy to be frightened of x-rays, since there are countless articles connecting radiation to cancer. Instead of the 2-3 mrem that an x-ray releases, it would take an exposure of 1000 mrem in one sitting to have any measured effect. Even with this high of a dose, your chances of getting cancer only increase by less than 1%. The simple fact is that every human being on the planet has cancerous cells in their body. Our immune systems are constantly destroying these cells. It is only when our immune system becomes deficient in some way that our body is unable to keep these cells from multiplying.
It is important to know the facts before making conclusions about what is in your best interest. If you have any questions regarding dental x-rays or any other procedures, you can contact Village Dental at (352) 753-7507 or (352) 205-7667. They have three locations in The Villages: 111 LaGrande Blvd., 540 Fieldcrest Drive and are located in the Pinellas Plaza at 2532 Burnsed Blvd., off of Hwy 466A.