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The Importance of Dental X-rays and Your Protection from Radiation



Why do you need dental Xrays?
Dental examinations help to diagnose disease before it becomes hazardous to your health.  An important component to your regular exam includes routine dental X-rays.  This allows the dentist to detect problems that cannot be seen by the naked eye including: loss of bone (periodontal disease), cysts, decay between the teeth, and tumors (cancerous and non-cancerous).
 
According to the Wisconsin Dental Association, by using an X-ray to make certain no pathology is present, the dentist can help save the patient time, expense, pain, money, and possibly avoiding additional treatments in the future.  In some cases, when dental x-rays show the location of cancerous growths, it can be responsible for saving a life.
 
Preventing X-ray Radiation Exposure
While X-rays remain an important diagnostic tool, many patients may be concerned with radiation exposure.  However, the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP) has found exposure associated with dentistry actually represents a minor contribution to the total exposure from all sources.  Both the American Dental Association along with the NCRP conclude radiographs can help the dental practitioner evaluate and definitively diagnose many oral diseases and conditions.
 
The FDA is encouraging dental professionals to make a simple switch to "faster" X-ray film to further reduce your radiation exposure.  At Madison No Fear Dentistry, we offer digital radiography which means even less exposure to radiation than the traditional X-rays, even those at the fastest film speed. 
 
X-ray Apron with Thyroid Protection
We also take preventative measures to ensure the safety of our patients while protecting them from any potential exposure.  In accordance to the recommended guidelines, we still drape the patient in a lead apron featuring a thyroid shield.

The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located in the lower front of the neck that secretes hormones into the blood and is carried to every tissue in the body.  The thyroid hormone helps the body use energy, stay warm, and keep the brain, heart, muscles, and other organs functioning properly.   

According to a publication released by the American Thyroid Association in 2013, the thyroid is among the most “susceptible sites to radiation-induced cancer.”  However, the prognosis of thyroid cancer is excellent especially for patients younger than 45 years of age and those with small cancers.

Prevention is always better than treatment.  By actively preventing disease and decay through regular home care, professional dental cleanings, and routine comprehensive exams with X-rays, patient and dentist together will be able to maintain a healthy, beautiful smile.
 
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