Just how much radiation do you get from a dental x-ray and how harmful is it?

Advances in x-ray equipment, especially film technology, allow your dentist to get a good x-ray image using much less radiation than was previously required. A typical dental x-ray image exposes you to only about 2 or 3 mrem. The National Council on Radiation Protection (NCRP) says that the average resident of the U.S. receives about 360 mrem every year from background sources. This comes from outer space, radioactive materials in the earth, and small amounts of radioactive material in most foods we consume.

Some typical sources that may expose you to radiation also include smoke detectors (less than 1 mrem per year), living in a brick house instead of a wood one (about 10 mrem per year due to radioactive materials in the masonry), cooking with natural gas (about 10 mrem per year from radon gas in the natural gas supply), reading a book for 3 hours per day (about 1 mrem per year due to small amounts of radioactive materials in the wood used to make the paper), and even from flying in an airplane (about 5 mrem for one cross-country flight because of the increased altitude.) In fact, you receive about 2 mrem per year from sleeping next to someone! This is because all of us have very small amounts of naturally occurring radioactive materials in our bodies.

Obviously, you probably would not refuse to fly on an airplane, live in a brick house, read books, live without smoke detectors, or sleep with your spouse because of the small amount of radiation you receive from these activities. Since your dentist gains valuable information from x-rays to aid you in keeping healthy teeth, it is also not in your best interest to refuse dental x-rays because of the very small amount of radiation you receive from them.

 

I only want my teeth cleaned. Do I need an Exam and X-rays?

 

Yes! 

As a new patient, The Doctor must examine the oral cavity in order to come up witha good diagnosis. The exam and X-rays will help the doctor to determine the level of cleaning needed. Also, The doctor will have the oppurtunity to find any cavities or other dental problem you might have. 

 

What is the black line that I see at the base of my crown?

 

The black coloring line can be an indication of metal underneath the white porcelain part of the crown.  Over time, chronic inflammation of the gum tissue causes it to bleed easily and perhaps recede from the metal, exposing it. The solution to fix this problem is to replace the crown witha more cosmetic and metal free crowns. 

 

Why My gums bleed when I am flossing or brushing my teeth?

 

When you eat food or drink soft drinks, some of it stays in your mouth — between your teeth, in deep crevices in your molars, along the gum line, and inside cavities or broken parts of your teeth if you have them.

Your mouth is home to many different types of bacteria. The bacteria that cause gingivitis can also attract other types of bacteria. These bacteria love food as much as, if not more than, you.

The bacteria feed on the food left in your mouth and produce waste that’s toxic to your gums. The waste, food particles and bacteria all create dental plaque.

Your gums also become inflamed because your immune system tries to fight the bacteria. White blood cells attack the bacteria and that partially causes the swelling, redness and inflammation. There’s more fluid in the gums, and they appear swollen and bleed easily.

When your gums begin to become infected, they become irritated. When you brush your teeth, they may bleed. When you floss, you bleed. If you use a toothpick, your gums may bleed. Heck, sometimes you can press your finger to an area of the gums with gingivitis, and it will start bleeding. This isn’t normal.