“Can we take an x-ray today?”
It is one of those questions you get frequently when you visit the dentist. If you are pretty smart you may answer: “That depends on your skill level and if the machine works”, but of course what we mean is if you agree to have your teeth x-rayed.
Right away things may race through your head, such as:
- Do I really need it? Will they really find something they can’t see just by looking at my teeth?
- How much does it cost?
- Is it bad for me?
- Will you ask this every visit?
- What if I say “no”?
The purpose of the x-ray is to see inside and under the surface of the tooth. They can assist the dentist with identifying a dental issue early to help prevent future health complications.
What kind of issues you ask? Well, think about issues such as bone loss, oral cancer and cavities. With all these things it is important to catch them early so treatments are readily available. Much better than waiting until the teeth itself starts showing signs of these things going on below the surface. In most cases everything looks fine so don’t worry too much that you will have what we are screening for. It is just a smart safety precaution to agree to an x-ray when they are due.
When it comes to kids, we like to monitor the adult teeth along with the jaw’s growth and development. There may be a pesky adult tooth coming in at a weird angle!
We will go over the results with you and offer further recommendations when needed. After that, we add them to your file!
Don’t let the cost of an x-ray stop you – at the end of the day, taking an x-ray could save you lots of money, as we can intervene quicker if needed.
The cost of an x-ray is determined by the Manitoba Dental Association.
We take two main types of x-rays at our office. The price of a regular x-ray (these are the little guys called bitewings and periapicals) is under $30. If you need more than one, the price for the second one is even less expensive. These are the ones where we ask you to bite down when we jog out of the room.
The price of a panoramic x-ray is under $90 and gets an image of every tooth in your mouth. These x-rays are done in a special booth.
Let’s address the elephant in the room: safety.
X-rays have come a long way since the early 1900s. With our new digital technology, taking x-rays is now safer than ever. Digital x-rays produce up to 90% less radiation than traditional ones.
Do you travel on an airplane for fun? Do you use a cell phone? Do you enjoy walks on sunny days? Taking routine x-rays at our office produces less radiation than these activities.
We use a lead apron (and even some lead lined walls and cupboards) as an extra step of safety to ensure radiation only emits exactly where we want it to.
We keep up with inspections to ensure our equipment is safe and working exactly how it should. We do follow the formulation of ALARA (As Low As Reasonably Achievable) principle. This means we avoid taking unnecessary x-rays and we also ensure we are adjusting our digital x-ray machine at the lowest setting of radiation for each patient, as we recognize different people have different bone densities.
Generally, at true north Dental Centre, we like to take these every two years and we may opt to take additional x-rays if there is something specifically going on that we need to take a closer look at.
Well, that’s ok too.. we will never do anything that you do not consent to.