In order to provide our patients with the highest quality of dental services, we use dental radiographs, or X-rays, in our office. These radiographs allow the dentist to see and treat problems like childhood cavities, tooth decay, orthodontic misalignment, bone injuries, and bone diseases before they worsen. These issues would be difficult (in some cases impossible) to see with the naked eye during a clinical examination. The decision to use x-rays is always based on a risk-benefit analysis of the individual patient's needs and history.
While radiographic equipment does produce radiation (and depends on that radiation to function properly), modern advances in technology are continually reducing the amount of radiation that is produced. In fact, studies have shown that the amount of radiation produced by these machines is not significantly higher than other "normal" sources of radiation that we are exposed to on perhaps a daily basis, such as televisions and airplanes.
X-rays work on a simple principle: the X-rays are stimulated and sent through the mouth. When these rays pass through, they are absorbed more by the bones in your mouth than the gums and other soft tissues, creating a picture of how the teeth inside your mouth are positioned, as well as any potential areas of weakness or decay in your teeth.