Frequently Asked Questions
Exposure to all sources of radiation -- including the sun, minerals in the soil, appliances in your home, and dental X-rays -- can damage the body's tissues and cells. Fortunately, the dose of radiation you are exposed to during the taking of X-rays is extremely small. Radiation is measured in units called millirems (mrems). The average dose per person is about 620 mrems per year. For four digital x-rays taken called a series of bitewings, you will be exposed to 0.5mrems.
A cavity is an erosion in the outer surface of the tooth causing a pit in the tooth in which bacteria can reproduce. When this erosion becomes deep enough, it can involve the nerve in the center of the tooth causing a painful toothache and swelling. Cavities themselves are not typically painful, unless they have become deep enough to involve the nerve root; this is why most dentists recommend twice-yearly screening exams to look for cavities and treat them, if they are present, while they are small.
There are several reasons that adults may lose teeth. The most common reasons involve the need for improved oral hygiene and a better understanding about the impact of their dietary habits. The Dental profession as a whole recommends that adults brush their teeth at least twice a day and floss at least once a day. These habits help slow the formation of dental plaque. This helps limit the colonies of bacteria which can lead to problems with both the teeth and their support, namely the bone and gums Plaque build-up can cause cavities to form as the bacteria eats away at enamel. It can also cause your gums to become inflamed and infected. Tooth decay and gum disease can both weaken the tissues supporting your teeth, which can make your teeth loosen and fall out.