11601 US Hwy 290 West, Suite
B105, Austin, TX 78737

A common question that patients ask the dentist during their child’s preventative visit is “why do I need x-rays?”  Some patients are concerned with the radiation associated with dental x-rays or may think that too many need to be taken. The risks of not taking x-rays far outweigh the small amount of radiation that the patient is exposed to when having the x-ray taken.

The main types of dental x-ray include the periapical (PA), bitewing (BW), and the panoramic x-ray. The periapical is used to detect decay in the anterior or front teeth, as well as checking the roots of anterior or posterior teeth for signs of infection. A bitewing is an x-ray that shows decay in between the posterior teeth that may not be visible with the naked eye. The bitewing also shows whether there has been any bone loss in between teeth and is helpful in diagnosing periodontal (gum) disease. Both the bitewing and periapical x-ray are crucial for any procedure that needs to be completed, by showing the dentist how close he or she is to the nerve of the tooth. A panoramic x-ray is a 2D representation of the jaws and is useful in checking the formation of teeth, screening for various diseases of the jaw, and checking the health of the bony part of the temporomandibular (jaw) joint. Together, the three types of x-rays with a thorough clinical exam give the dentist an overall picture of the patient’s oral health and form a good baseline to compare back to in subsequent visits.

Among medical uses, dental x-rays expose the patient to less radiation than almost any x-ray that can be taken. According to the American Dental Association, a bitewing and periapical x-ray both deliver .005 millisieverts of radiation, whereas a panoramic x-ray delivers .01 millisieverts. For comparison, an x-ray of the upper G.I. tract delivers 6.0 millisieverts, over 1,200 times more than a bitewing or periapical. Per the CDC, a domestic flight in the United States delivers roughly the same dose of radiation (.004 millisieverts) as a dental x-ray.  Every day, you are exposed to background radiation, which is made up of cosmic radiation from the sun and stars, radiation from radioactive materials naturally found on our planet, and a small percentage from man-made sources such as a nuclear power plant.

In the above chart, dental x-rays fall under the category of conventional radiography/ fluroscopy and thereby contribute to less than 5% as a source of radiation exposure. Dental x-rays are considered safe and make up a very small portion of the radiation that a person is exposed to on a yearly basis.

As a new patient in a dental office, it’s important to have proper x-rays taken that serve as a baseline for comparison in the future. Every dentist has an opinion on how often radiographs should be taken, and it is an important discussion to have with any individual patient. If you are concerned about radiation, it’s okay to express these concerns with the dentist. However, it is nearly impossible to form accurate diagnoses of tooth decay, gum disease, or pathology of the jaws without basic dental x-rays. Dental offices are checked regularly to make sure they are in compliance with proper x-ray safety and regulations. Dental assistants and dentists do everything they can to protect the patient and minimize radiation. X-rays are a preventive measure that may catch many pathologies of the mouth at an early time. With early intervention, you can maintain more tooth structure, halt bone or gum loss, and detect malignancies before they spread. In some instances, dental x-rays may show cavities that are forming, which are invisible to the human eye, and can still be halted if the proper measures are taken. In conclusion, dental x-rays are a safe procedure that has many benefits, with very little risk.

COVID-19 Announcement

I hope everyone is staying healthy, calm, and spending quality family time together during these unprecedented times due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

There have been significant mandated changes for our dental practice to help reduce the impact this illness will cause on the public. However, as dental professionals, we have a responsibility to you and have been encouraged to assist you should you have an emergency or urgent dental need to prevent you from recourse to the emergency room.

As a result, I am available for phone consultations for all our patients and other pediatric patients who may need assistance and cannot reach their dental home dentist. Each patient will be managed via phone consultation and those who absolutely need to be seen in-office will be advised on a case by case basis. If you need assistance please do not hesitate to call us. The number to call during normal business hours is 512-917-4550. The number to call after normal business hours is 512-701-5050. Leave a message if no answer and we will respond as soon as we can.

For those who may need to be seen in-office, know that we continue to use hospital-grade surface disinfectants and strict sterilization techniques. Every surface in each treatment room and every piece of equipment is fully disinfected every time. Handwashing techniques continue to be enforced and hand sanitizer is available as well. In addition, each room is supplied with fresh ozonated water which is a potent disinfectant and aids in reducing and/or removing unwanted mouth microorganisms and viruses. You will also notice we are using different personal protective equipment. Any blankets or scrubs used by myself are washed and dried in-office.

For those parents with children who have emergencies and absolutely need to be seen in-office, the following check-in procedures should be followed.

  1. When you are scheduling your appointment, please let us know if you, your child, or anyone at home is sick or has been sick in the past 2-3 weeks or has been diagnosed with coronavirus. Provide details. Please let us know if you, your child, or anyone at home has traveled to a high risk countries or any high risk area within the United States. Click on the CDC link to see the full list https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/after-travel-precautions.html. Provide details. Important: If you have answered yes to the above, we will do our best to help your child but may not be able to see you in-office.
  2. Fill out any forms online prior to your visit to minimize contact with our ipads.
  3. Call us when you arrive to let us know you are here. Wait in your car until we open the door for you. Our front office team member will open the door for you so you do not have to touch any door handles. Only one parent is allowed to come inside the office with the patient and no other children are allowed to come in with you. Bring only necessary items needed into the office. Example, no coffee mugs, ipads, water bottles, toys, etc...
  4. Your temperature and that of your child/baby will be taken and you will be asked to fill out the COVID-19 questionnaire.
  5. Use hand sanitizer that is available on the counter at check-in for both you and your child or go directly in the bathroom to wash your hands. Put on the mask provided for you and your child, except for babies. Any documents we need to give you will be placed next to your mask. Place them in your bag/purse/pocket immediately.
  6. You will be directed to the treatment room directly and I will provide care promptly to minimize the amount of time you spend outside of your home.
  7. When you are done, the door will be opened for you so you do not have to touch any door handles.
  8. There may be other instructions given to you over the phone or in-office.

Thank you for your understanding and flexibility given these extraordinary circumstances. As a parent of an 8 month old baby, be assured we are taking all the steps necessary to protect you and your family. I look forward to the day we can see each other again. I miss all the hugs and smiles from all our kids! Please hug them for me and tell them Dr. Evy say hi! May God bless all! Sincerely, Dr. Evy Guerrero

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