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Contact Info

Address
16979 Farmington Rd
 
Livonia, MI 48154
Phone
(734) 525-6100

Hours of Operation

Monday
9:30am-6pm
Tuesday
9am-5pm
Wednesday
9am-1pm
Thursday
10am-7pm

X-Ray Q & A

Many patients are concerned about the safety of X-rays in general as well as the need for them in the dental office. If you still have any questions after reading this information, please ask a staff member.

Please select a topic below by clicking on the corresponding icon.

 

  • Are All X-rays the Same?
  • What About Radiation Safety?
  • Are X-rays Necessary Every Time I Have a Checkup?
  • What Are You Looking for When You Read My Dental X-rays?
  • What If I Think There's a Chance I May Be Pregnant? Will X-rays Harm My Unborn Baby?
  • What Precautions Are Taken?
  • Why Do Dental Personnel Leave the Room When They Take My X-rays?

 


Are All X-rays the Same?

Actually, there are several types of X-rays that may be ordered by the dentist. The most common are what are referred to as 'intraoral,' a small film packet is placed inside your mouth. You may be asked to bite on a small cardboard tab that holds a cavity-detecting X-ray film packet in place; or you may be asked to bite down on a small plastic device that aligns the film with the X-ray machine. 'Intraoral' X-rays is the only type of X-ray done in our office.

Other Types of X-rays (called 'extraoral') are taken by placing a larger film cassette near your face. You may be either seated or standing while the film is being taken. These are often needed by an orthodontist (braces) or oral surgeon.


What About Radiation Safety?

That's a commonly asked question and we're glad you are concerned. Radiation in the amounts used to expose dental X-rays is very small. In fact, the average American actually receives more radiation from sitting in front of the television for a period of one year than from routine X-rays taken at a dental office!


Are X-rays Necessary Every Time I Have a Checkup?

Not necessarily.  The need varies from patient to patient. X-rays are taken to detect conditions or diseases present in the mouth. Depending upon the findings of your clinical examination, your dentist will determine when X-rays are necessary for you.


What Are You Looking for When You Read My Dental X-rays?

One of the obvious things we look for, of course, is decay. (Often, tooth decay is not apparent upon visual examination. That's because the decay process often starts between the teeth.)

In addition to decay, there are many other things the dentist looks for on your X-rays:

  • Receding bone level (a sign of periodontal, or gum, disease)
  • Supernumerary (extra) teeth
  • Missing, impacted or unerupted teeth
  • Bone cancer or bony cysts
  • Early signs of osteoporosis
  • Root fragments
  • Root configuration
  • Sinus infection
  • Abscesses of the teeth or gums
  • Tooth position
  • Foreign objects that may be imbedded in the oral tissue
  • Fractures of the teeth
  • Tartar below the gumline
  • Filling overhangs or damaged filling margins


What If I Think There's a Chance I May Be Pregnant? Will X-rays Harm My Unborn Baby?

It's true that embryonic tissues are very sensitive to X-radiation. If you are pregnant, think you may be pregnant, or are trying to get pregnant, please tell us. We generally avoid taking X-ray films during this time, unless there is a specific dental emergency.

Of course, if X-rays are needed, every precaution will be taken to protect you and your unborn baby from harmful radiation.


What Precautions Are Taken?

We protect patients of all ages with a lead apron. This apron is draped over your shoulders and protects you from your neck to mid-thighs.

Today's film manufacturers make ultra-speed films which require as little as 1/10th of a second actual exposure. They also permit the lowest level of radiation possible to produce clinically acceptable diagnostic X-rays.


Why Do Dental Personnel Leave the Room When They Take My X-rays?

Because dental personnel take many films each day and must take precautions against what is called 'cumulative x-radiation.' The safest way to ensure this is for them to stand at least six feet from the x-ray unit for a brief fraction of a second when radiation is present.