Are Dental X-Rays Harmful?

By: Dr. Sharanya Srinivasa DMD

Many of my patients arrive to their appointment with questions and concerns about dental x-rays. Dental x-rays are very safe compared to medical x-rays. The amount of radiation is relatively low.

An interesting fact is that every day we are exposed to radiation. Everything in our environment gives off a certain amount of radiation. For example the sun gives off a certain amount of radiation but you wouldn’t spend your life avoiding sunlight. Unless you are a vampire. All joking aside, dental x-rays are one of the lowest doses of radiation within the medical field. In a routine exam, we take 4 bitewing x-rays which is .005 mSv. This is less than 1 day of natural background radiation. It is the same amount of radiation when you fly in a plane for 1-2 hours.

You may be wondering, “Why does my dentist need to take dental x-rays?” Dental x-rays are helpful for many reasons. They help us find decay inbetween teeth that may not be visible to the naked eye. X-rays also help us check for bone loss, cysts, abscesses, infection on the root, and decay under fillings. Dentists may also need to get an x-rays of the bones and teeth before any procedures they perform and to diagnose periodontal disease.

Dental x-rays are a safe, and important part of dental care. X-ray technology helps find dental issues at an early stage, which saves patients time, money and discomfort.

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Fluoride 101

By: Dr. Sharanya Srinivasa DMD

What is fluoride and why is it used in dental care? Fluoride is a mineral that occurs naturally in many foods, as well as city water in certain places. Some natural sources of fluoride are brewed tea, canned fish, cooked kale, spinach, apples, and skim milk.

A lack of fluoride makes you more prone to cavities. Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay by making your tooth enamel more resistant to acid attacks from plaque and acidic foods.The dentist also gives fluoride treatments during the routine cleanings, predominantly for children. This help keeps cavities from forming. Adults can also benefit from fluoride.

Research has shown that communities that have fluoride in the tap water have less cavities than communities that do not fluoridate their water supply.  The amount of fluoride in water is very low and does not cause health related side effects but is needed to maintain oral health.

It is recommended that you have a fluoride treatment once every 6 months. Especially is you are prone to cavities.

Teeth Whitening 101

By: Dr. Sharanya Srinivasa DMD

Regular cleaning visits to your dentist help remove plaque build up and staining from your teeth. Avoiding substances that stain teeth can stop further discoloration, such as cigarettes, coffee, wine and dark tea. You can also maintain whiter teeth by asking your dentist about the available whitening options at their practice. These whitening systems are stronger than what is offered over the counter, and will make your teeth noticeably whiter to friends and family.

Studies of teeth whitening products using 10% carbamide peroxide showed no effects on the hardness or mineral content of teeth enamel surface or existing fillings.

However, please keep in mind that existing restorations such as tooth-colored fillings, crowns, bonding, veneers, and bridges will NOT lighten with any whitening treatments. Pre-existing dental work may need to be replaced to match the new tooth shade achieved in the natural teeth. Your dentist will make you aware of this prior to the whitening procedure, and give you options.

The immediate days after teeth whitening are critical for the teeth whitening process. The tooth’s pores remain open the next few days after teeth whitening which is why your teeth continue to whiten. It is important to avoid foods or drinks with high amounts of artificial coloring, such as ketchup, mustard, coffee, tea, and red wine. For coffee drinkers, if you must have caffeine, try an energy drink, or drink coffee through a straw. Smokers should not smoke during the next few days to get the best results.

Once in-house teeth whitening is complete, a patient can whiten their teeth at home until they achieve a shade that they are pleased with. However, this is not necessary if you are happy with the shade achieved by your dentist. Whitening at home can easily be done with bleaching trays or at home whitening gels. After the desired shade is reached, a patient needs a touch up every three to four months.

At Paramount Dental Care, we offer a variety of whitening plans. Below is an overview of what we offer. Call us today to set up a consultation. 201-864-4700.

 

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