So remember last week’s post about the amount of x-ray exposure you are actually receiving not only in your West Seattle dentist’s office, but everywhere? If not, check it out! It’s an interesting read! If you have checked it out, than you know I promised to let you know how much x-radiation you are exposed to every time a digital x-ray is taken in Dr. Kirchner’s office:
Ta-da! Awesome right? Such a tiny amount! And Dr. Kirchner still gets an awesome picture of the inside of your teeth!
While at my check up in November, Dr. Kirchner and Jillian were talking to me about the new x-ray system. I had 6 digital x-rays taken (if you’re counting, that is a total of 0.6 mrem for the whole year!), two bite-wings on each side and then a picture of my upper front teeth and a picture of my lower front teeth. When Dr. Kirchner came in to do my exam, Jillian brought the digital x-ray images up on the computer screen. “It looks like you have incipient decay on the distal of #4″ Dr. Kirchner said (yes, as embarrassing as it is to admit, even your awesome blog author is not immune to cavities!). Dr. Kirchner went on to talk about how helpful it is to be able to see the x-rays so much larger. If you think about it, before she was looking at a tiny film (1 1/4″ x 1 5/8” to be exact). Now the size “film” she is looking at is the size of a computer screen! She can easily see things like incipient decay (a cavity that can be reversed!) which means you save money on fillings because if you take care of that incipient decay at home, she won’t need to do a filling on you to fix it!
The other nice thing about digital x-rays is that they are much faster than traditional x-rays. No more putting films in and out of the mouth. Jillian was able to leave the film sized sensor in my mouth and just move it into the correct position, like a quarter of an inch maybe, in between snapping pictures. It was quick and painless!
It is also more environmentally friendly. Normal dental x-ray film has a lead shield inside of it that you have to dispose of in a careful way. Also, you have to use a lot of fixer and developer, both chemicals that have to be disposed of in special ways. With digital x-rays, all you need is a cover to cover the sensor that goes in your mouth.
As a patient waiting, you don’t have to wait anymore! No more sitting there waiting for x-ray films to get developed. And if a digital x-ray comes out blurry or incorrectly placed, Dr. Kirchner’s staff can see that right away and just retake it really quick. And since the x-radiation level is significantly lower, you aren’t exposed to as much, even if they do need to snap an extra film or two.
Interested to see how it works? Here’s a video:
Dexis Digital X-ray video