What to Know about Dental X-Rays

Examining radiography

X-rays are a powerful diagnostic tool. However, due to potential radiation exposure, having x-rays taken is a subject many patients find concerning.

The amount of radiation received from an x ray with modern dental equipment is negligible. Radiation is measured in units called “Sieverts.” We are all exposed to radiation just living on Earth. In the course of a year every person on the plant will absorb roughly .001 Sieverts. The modern x-ray used in a dental office exposes patients to half that amount.

Purpose of X-Rays
While x-rays can reveal cavities between the teeth, there are many other things x-rays can reveal. These include positioning of teeth that are still below the gum line, identify growths in and around the jaw and can save lives by finding cancers that physical exams might not catch.

Two-Dimensional vs. Three-Dimensional X-Rays
Many dental practices still rely on two-dimensional radiographic x-rays, just like the ones hospitals use. However, two-dimensional x-rays have some drawbacks in dental work. Because the image is often fuzzy, it typically doesn’t show the needed detail to spot small problems areas, such as cavities of potential abscesses. Three-Dimensional x-rays use a cone beam CT scan to creates a three dimensional image of the teeth and the surrounding bone structure. This produces an incredible detailed image that can catch even the smallest problem, before it can become a big one.

Frequency of X-Rays
Some patients may benefit from a new set of x-rays every year, whereas others will only require x-rays as needed. Generally, there is no right answer as to how often x-rays should be taken, as there are typically many factors to consider. These factors can include:

• If the patient has a history of severe tooth decay
• If the patient has a history periodontal disease
• Whether or not the patient has received all of their adult teeth
• If the patient’s teeth haven’t yet moved into their permanent locations
• Whether or not there is enough room in the patient’s mouth for their wisdom teeth
• If the patient needs some type restorative solutions

If you want more information about dental x-rays or are looking for a dentist in Northridge, give us a call and we will be happy to schedule an appointment for you.


Types of Clear Braces

Three young people smiling

As dentistry, orthodontics, and the technology behind them improve, our patients receive many choices about their care. Changes in the kinds of braces available to our patients are an example of this. The days when getting braces meant getting a mouth full of metal brackets and wires are over. There is an increase in the number of patients we see who are seeking clear braces. Often when patients come to our orthodontist in East Los Angeles, they are unsure about the types of clear braces. To help with your decision, we have compiled an overview of the kinds of clear braces available at our office.

While ceramic braces are not entirely invisible, they are either a transparent ceramic material or a ceramic material that matches tooth color. Often the ceramic braces have tooth enamel colored wires to make the braces less visible. Aside from the bracket material, ceramic braces are very similar to metal braces. They perform the same task in the same way and typically require the same amount of time to correct your teeth. Adults and older teens frequently choose ceramic braces because they are not as noticeable as metal braces.

Our patients seldom choose the option of lingual braces. These are not truly clear braces. The lingual braces are metal braces that our orthodontist attaches inside of the mouth behind the teeth. The braces successfully hide from view, but patients often struggle to clean lingual braces, and these braces realign teeth slowly.

The most popular type of clear braces we offer are the Invisalign braces. These differ from traditional braces; Invisalign braces are a series of clear trays which patients slip over their teeth. Over time, the trays realign teeth. While the correction process takes longer than traditional braces, patients love Invisalign. Among the top reasons patients give regarding satisfaction with Invisalign are the fact that they are removable and that patients can eat and drink whatever they want and there is considerably less pain with Invisalign.

The options available for clear braces are each unique. Take a few moments to consider your lifestyle and what you expect from braces. Then do not hesitate to contact our office to make your appointment.