X-rays are an invaluable tool used in the dental profession since the 1800's, allowing the healthcare provider to see and diagnose much more than what was seen by the eye alone. At the dental office of Dr. Shanna Chirco in Los Alamitos, we believe in providing the best dental care available. This is why we utilize the most up to date technology to help see and explain your dental health. Today Dr. Shanna Chirco relies upon three different methods to obtain the most comprehensive care: Extra-oral radiography, Intra-oral radiography, and Intra-oral photography.
Digital Intra-Oral Radiography / Digital X-Rays
Digital Intra-Oral Radiography or Digital x-rays have been recommended by the American Dental Association for multiple reasons and we are happy to provide the benefits of this advanced technology to our patients. This technique uses an electronic sensor (instead of x-ray film) that captures and stores the digital image on a computer. This image can be instantly viewed, enlarged, and enhanced to help Dr. Shanna Chirco and her dental team detect problems easier. Digital x-rays reduce radiation 80-90% compared to the already low exposure of traditional dental x-rays. These images are easily stored and can be easily shared with the insurance company for faster approvals and with other dental or medical health professionals should the need arise.
Extra-oral Radiography / Panoramic Dental X-Rays
Extra-oral Radiography or Panoramic dental x-rays are used to create a single image of the entire mouth. This allows Dr. Shanna Chirco and her dental team to see the surrounding structures such as the Temporomandibular joint (TMJ), the sinus cavities, bone abnormalities, cysts, impacted teeth, infections and tumors. Because it does not provide details on the teeth themselves, intra-oral x-rays along with extra-oral X-rays provide a complete view of a patients condition.
Intra-oral photography (pictures inside the mouth) is used by Dr. Shanna Chirco and her staff to help aid the patient in understanding what the current condition is and how it can be improved. We believe that pictures are worth a thousand words and truly help patients see if and how a tooth is unhealthy. These images are also very helpful to help obtain approvals for treatment by the insurance company involved.
Frequently Asked Questions about Dental X-Rays and images.
Are dental x-rays safe for me?
Yes. Dental x-rays are a low-dose radiation equivalent to less than one day's natural radiation exposure received from the sun.
How much radiation am I exposed to?
The National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP) has estimated the average radiation dose per year from all sources in the United States is 6.2 millisieverts (mSv), with about 3.1 mSv of this does from natural sources and about 3.1 mSv from man-made sources such as x-rays or CT scanning. For a series of 4 X-rays taken at a check up appointment the patient would be exposed to 0.005 mSv. This is equivalent to a full day in sun or a quick 1-2 hour airplane flight.
How often should I get dental x-rays?
X-ray frequency is dependent on the condition presented to the dentist. It is recommended to have a full series of x-rays as a new patient to ensure a comprehensive exam is accomplished. A patient with a high risk for cavities and infection should have x-rays taken every 6-12 months. If a patient is at low risk for cavities or infections, x-rays can be taken every 12-24 months.
Are dental x-rays covered by my insurance?
All dental benefits vary according to the insurance carrier. The benefits are usually based off of frequency. The date of the last x-rays taken can be provided by the insurance carrier and our staff would be more than happy to assist you obtain your maximum coverage.
Can I have dental x-rays while pregnant?
We encourage only emergency x-rays to be taken while pregnant and ideally during the second trimester. If a dental x-ray is necessary, the patient is provided a double lead apron to help protect the baby and the mother. Please notify us if you think you might be pregnant and we will be happy to modify our treatment accordingly.
If you have any dental questions or concerns or would like to schedule your own dental x-rays, give us a call today (562) 430-7310 or click on one of the “Request An Appointment” buttons throughout this website.