Why We Take X-Rays

As a new patient at Surf Smiles Family Dentistry, it is important that we are able to detect and visualize disease. For new patients of record, we take approximately 18 x-rays at the initial exam appointment. If you have had x-rays taken within the past year, you are more than welcome to have them sent to our office prior to your visit.

The x-rays taken for new patients allow the doctors the best visualization of every tooth and root, along with bony structures. If we were to not take x-rays, we would not have the ability to diagnose all possible dental disease.

Many patients are concerned about the exposure to radiation. At Surf Smiles, we use the newest forms of technology and all of our x-rays are digital, which greatly reduces the radiation exposure. Rest assured there are many other forms of radiation in life that are far worse than dental x-rays. The maximum annual dose permitted for U.S. radiation workers is 50.0 mSv. The most commonly taken x-rays are at your routine 6-month exam and cleaning appointments, called bitewings. The bitewings are a set of 4 x-rays that are used to diagnose decay and changes to the bone. The dosage of 4 bitewing radiographs taken with d-speed film (NOT digital) is 0.038 mSv. If those bitewings are taken digitally, which we do here at Surf Smiles, that dosage reduces to 0.02 mSv.

The average radiation in the U.S. from natural sources on an annual basis comes in at a dosage of 3.0 mSv. A chest X-ray has a dosage of 0.10 mSv. Radon in the average U.S. home on an annual basis is a dosage of 2.28 mSv. The annual dose received by food and water (potassium) is a dosage of 0.4 mSv. A cross-country flight from New York to Los Angeles comes with a dosage of 0.04 mSv.

Radiation comes in all shapes and forms, not just from x-ray images. You receive more radiation from a single flight across the country than with bitewing radiographs at your dental appointment! If we as your dental professionals recommend x-rays, please be comforted that we are not only highly educated in making the decision, but we are doing so in order to protect your health.

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