Does it Matter if My Elgin Dentist Uses Digital X-Rays?

I’ve had the same Elgin dentist for practically my whole life. I love him to bits and pieces. He handles my dental anxiety well and does beautiful work. When my kids were born, it was a no-brainer to start bringing them to him. I was talking to my sister the other day about our last visit and she said that, because he’s still using the old school x-ray films and such, that it actually poses a health risk. I would think that it’s safe, otherwise he’d stop using them. What’s the bottom line here- do I need to find a new Elgin dentist or are we probably ok where we are?



Dear Meagan,

If you’ve found an Elgin dentist you know well and like, who treats you and your children well, stick with him. Digital x-rays are wonderful and they greatly reduce the amount of radiation you’re exposed to. They’ve become so sophisticated that it’s almost the same as walking outside on a sunny day. The older ones are nowhere near this, but your doctor should be taking steps to minimize exposure.

First, x-rays should only be taken when absolutely necessary. You’ll need them about once a year for diagnostics and he’ll need them to check out a tooth if there’s an issue. Aside from this, you and your children should be wearing lead aprons every time you have an x-ray. These aprons should also have a neck piece or collar to protect your thyroid.

If he’s taking these precautions, then he’s following the established guidelines and it is safe to continue seeing him. If you’re concerned about the amount of radiation your family is exposed to or he isn’t following the standard guidelines, you may want to start looking around for a new Elgin dentist. You can also have a frank discussion with him expressing your concerns to see if he plans to upgrade at some point in the near future.

Equally, if you’ve been seeing the same dentist for your whole life, he may well be nearing retirement age. If this is the case, he probably won’t make the upgrade on his own. The systems are incredibly expensive and it can take many years for a dentist to pay off the machines needed to take digital x-rays. You may want to file the info away for later and focus on finding someone who has taken the digital plunge if/ when your dentist retires. For now, the choice is truly yours. Yes, digital x-rays expose you to less radiation and are better for you from that standpoint, but the original ones are not so harmful that they’ve been outlawed by any means. The ADA still approves of them and doctors are required to have their machines checked regularly to make sure they’re performing well, so he would have to stop using his if they were posing unnecessary risks.

This blog is sponsored byElgin dentist, Dr. Steve Sirin.

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