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Most of us fear what we don’t understand. When it comes to dental health and visits to your local dentist office, plenty of people fear x-rays. Why? Simply put, we don’t understand how they work, other than the fact that x-rays require radiation in order to accurately capture an image. Unfortunately, many of us are familiar with the fact that radiation has been identified as the culprit contributing to various illnesses. But the threat posed by radiation has been overblown, causing undue angst about the most basic dental procedures, like digital x-rays.

At the end of the day, the connection between radiation and its negative impact on human health comes down to dosage. It’s not radiation itself, but the amount a person is exposed to that needs to be evaluated. When it comes to digital x-rays, the amount is minimal. In fact, you’re likely to encounter only slightly less radiation from a fruit bowl.

See for yourself….

You’re Surrounded by Radiation. Every Day. Everywhere. 

Yes, the fact is radiation is found just about everywhere. We encounter it every day, without even realizing it. Just stepping outside and enjoying a walk on a sunny day exposes you to radiation. So does a trip to the Grand Canyon, not to mention the plane ride you likely had to take to get there in the first place. But what is radiation?

According to the Health Physics Society,

Radiation is energy that comes from a source and travels through space and may be able to penetrate various materials. Light, radio, and microwaves are types of radiation that are called non-ionizing…Ionizing radiation is produced by unstable atoms. Unstable atoms differ from stable atoms because unstable atoms have an excess of energy or mass or both. Radiation can also be produced by high-voltage devices (eg. x-ray machines).

Note: High voltage does not mean high radiation…and there are different types of radiation.

“Atoms with unstable nuclei are said to be radioactive. In order to reach stability, these atoms give off, or emit, the excess energy or mass.These emissions are called radiation. The kinds of radiation are electromagnetic (like light) and particulate (i.e. mass given off with the energy of motion). Gamma radiation and x-rays are examples of electromagnetic radiation….x-rays come from the electronic part of the atom.”

But why do we need digital x-rays? Isn’t there another way?

Well, no, there isn’t. And dentists and dental hygienists value x-rays for what they can reveal, regarding an individual’s complete oral health. Without digital x-rays, dentists can only access part of the picture. In order to fully understand and diagnose dental issues, digital x-rays are critical. The inability to diagnose a dental problem is far scarier than any imagined threat posed by digital x-rays. Left unchecked, the smallest of dental concerns can quickly become complicated, requiring more invasive treatment than initially necessary. So, don’t fear digital x-rays and don’t expect your skin to glow green after getting them done.

Call your trusted team at Diamond Dental today, #781-338-0818 and schedule your next appointment.