We use radiographs (also known as x-rays) to diagnose much more than just cavities.
We use x-rays to monitor:
Often a radiograph is the final piece of the puzzle that confirms a diagnosis and allows us to formulate an appropriate treatment plan. Detecting disease while it is still small makes it more affordable to fix and reduces the risk for pain and infection.
For your comfort, we use specialized, smaller digital sensors with rounded ends that reduce the chance of pain.
The routine cavity detection x-rays (BWs/ Bitewings) has the same exposure of radiation as spending the day outside in natural sunlight or a 1 hour plane ride. Medical x-rays are of much more concern. The amount of radiation from one mammogram is the equivalent of getting approximately 20,000 dental x-rays. We are also very careful to minimize the exposure of our patients to radiation by using lead aprons and special x-ray equipment that restricts the x-rays only to the area of interest.
With current safeguards, the amount of radiation received during a routine dental examination is truly negligible and should not be a factor you need to consider for your dental health. The dental radiograph risk is much smaller than the risk of having an undetected dental problem.