Since its beginnings, dental X-ray technology has come a long way. What we think of as a quick procedure done to check for cavities during a dental visit, was once a much different process. X-Ray imaging has grown a lot in quality, safety, and accuracy. Here is the evolution of dental x-rays.
Dental X-ray Brief Early History.
When Professor Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen discovered the X-ray in 1985, it was instantly recognized as having great potential for diagnosing medical concerns by showing the internal conditions of the body. The first dental X-rays were taken by Drotto Walkhoff shortly after Roentgen’s discovery. It took Walkhoff 25 minutes of X-ray exposure to produce the image.
Today we know that long term exposure to X-radiation is not very safe. Walkhoff discovered this himself as the exposure caused him to lose his hair. As technology improved we were able to take X-ray images more quickly and with less radiation. By the 1890’s Walter König created an X-ray machine which could produce an image with only 5 minutes of X-ray exposure.
In the 1900’s William Herbert Rollins came up with a list of precautions to minimize risks associated with X-ray exposure. This included enclosing the X-ray in lead housing control the direction of exposure, exposing only the areas of interest to the beam, and covering other areas of the body with radiation. He also determined safe recommended dosages of X-radiation for the average patient.
Dental X-rays Today.
With the implementation of safer technology and practices, today’s X-ray technology has changed drastically from the time of that first 25 min dental image. We use two kinds of dental X-rays to take images. A traditional X-ray is used to capture detailed images of sections of the jaw and mouth, and a panoramic X-ray captures a full image of the mouth in a quick sweeping motion. Both X-rays use a very small amount of radiation, especially in comparison to early technology.
Is it safe?
There is nothing to fear from today’s X-ray technology. The American Dental Association and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have deemed the technology safe for all people, and have set a series of guidelines for safe exposure practices.
At Westmoreland Dental Group we uphold the standards of safety that keep you and your teeth in great condition. We use X-ray technology to diagnose cavities, and dental damage so that we can help you maintain and improve your oral health. Contact us if you have any questions or if you would like to set up an appointment.
We look forward to seeing your smile!