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.

We are following strict protocols mandated by the State to help to reduce the spread of the coronavirus when helping our patients and clients. As dental professionals, we have a responsibility to you, therefore we are now accepting appointments for established and new patients.

We are operating at a 25% capacity, limiting the amount of people inside the practice; at the same time we continue following strict sterilization techniques, cleaning surfaces between appointments with hospital-grade surface disinfectants, and using advanced vacuums during dental work to limit the spread of bacteria through the air. Also, 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 me are washed and dried in-office.

You can schedule an appointment by calling our office during regular business hours at 512-917-4550.

The following check-in procedures should be followed.

  1. When scheduling your appointment, please let us know if you or anyone at home is sick or has been sick with coronavirus within the last 2 weeks. Please provide details and let us know if anyone at home has traveled to a high-risk country or any high-risk area within the United States. 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 the office.
  2. Fill out any forms online before your visit to minimize your time in our office and contact with the ipads.
  3. Call us when you arrive to let us know you are here. Wait in your car until we are ready for you. Bring only necessary items into the office. For example, no coffee mugs, ipads, water bottles, toys, etc.
  4. We are limiting the visit to one parent with the child.
  5. We require all parents to bring a mask and to fully cover the mouth and nose while inside our office.
  6. If your child is old enough, your child needs to wear a mask at all times except in the operatory room during the examination or dental procedures.
  7. Your temperature and that of your child/baby will be taken and you will be asked to fill out the COVID-19 questionnaire. You will also be asked to wash your hands or use hand sanitizer at your arrival.
  8. When we are ready you will be directed to the treatment room and I will provide care for your child as usual.
  9. When the examination/treatment is completed, the operatory room doors will be opened for you to reduce contact.
  10. There may be other instructions given to you over the phone or in-office.

Thank you for your understanding and flexibility. As a parent, be assured we are taking all the steps necessary to protect you and your family. I miss the hugs and smiles from all our kids! Please hug them for me and tell them Dr. Evy says hi! May God bless you all!

Sincerely,

Dr. Evy Guerrero

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