Why Digital X-rays are More Crucial to Oral Health Than You Think

NORTHAMPTON AND EAST LONGMEADOW, MASSACHUSETTS – Many studies on dental X-rays tend to focus on the dangers of radiation and fail to recognize the importance of X-rays in early diagnosis and treatment.

Dr. Vincent Mariano, a Northampton dental specialist, points out that studies often do not differentiate between traditional and digital X-rays, and often fail to acknowledge that X-rays can aid in the diagnosis of conditions that are not visible to the human eye. He refers to a study recently published in an American Cancer Society journal titled “Cancer” as an example.

“Dental X-rays and Risk of Meningioma” uses the recall abilities of participants to make the conclusion that meningioma patients are more likely to have undergone certain types of X-rays than non-meningioma patients.

On April 10, the American Dental Association released a statement explaining that due to “recall bias,” results of studies that rely upon participants’ memories are not reliable.

Many of those who participated in “Dental X-rays and Risk of Meningioma” received X-rays decades ago when patients were exposed to greater amounts of environmental radiation and dentists used conventional X-ray technology.

The authors reported that panoramic and bitewing films showed a statistically significant increase in chance of patients suffering from a meningioma. Most dental practices have since done away with film radiography technology and turned to digital X-rays instead.

Digital radiography offers a number of benefits, including reduced exposure to radiation. Digital X-rays improve workflow because they can be viewed immediately, aiding in quicker diagnosis, and because they are stored electronically, they are available to be sent immediately to outside specialists (orthodontists, endodontists, oral surgeons and other dental specialists).

They also play an important role in early diagnosis and treatment. Many diseases and oral health conditions cannot be detected with the naked eye alone. Digital radiographs can help your dentist identify gum disease, cysts, tumors, decay, bone infections, developmental abnormalities and several other issues. When your dentist discovers these complications early on, he/she is better able to treat the conditions with less invasive procedures, such as dental crowns and invisible braces, before they worsen. If conditions are not diagnosed and treated early, more invasive and expensive procedures may become necessary. In the end, digital X-rays save you from spending more time and money at your dentist’s office than necessary.

You can find comfort in knowing that your dentist strives to minimize the amount of radiation you are exposed to due to their use of digital X-rays.

“We educate our patients on the importance of dental X-rays and encourage them to play an active role in their dental health,” said Dr. Lisa Emirzian, who offerstooth whitening treatments at her dentistry practice. “Using the ADA’s guidelines, we recommend X-rays when they are essential to the well-being of our patients.”

Northampton dental implants providers like Dr. Mariano and Dr. Emirzian are trained professionals who have your best interests in mind. Because they are concerned about your oral and overall health, you can be sure that they will only perform X-rays when they are needed.

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