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X-Rays From Our Perspective

Dental X-Ray and MirrorX-Rays are critical to the practice of dentistry. And the benefits are profound. But dentists are sometimes guilty of dismissing patient concerns, as in, “Don’t worry, you’ll be fine.”

We do believe the judicious use of X-Rays is in our patients’ best interests. But patients deserve to know why.

Radiography begins

Wilhelm Roentgen, fiddling around with electricity and photographic plates one day in 1895, found a wave that could photograph the invisible. When he realized he was seeing the bone inside his arm, he took a closer look at this mysterious “X” Ray.

In New Orleans, just days after the discovery was made, a dentist Edmund Kells ordered equipment to build the first X-Ray in America—for use in his dental practice.

From the very beginning, dentists have guided the evolution of radiography. We know it well.

How X-Rays work

Most of us have experienced X-Rays at the dentist’s office. A ray of photons is emitted by that familiar cylinder (or cone) placed on the cheek, and the film is held inside the mouth to receive the image.

Bone and teeth absorb more photons than soft tissue, so their image is captured with clarity.

The amount of energy absorbed by oral tissue is a “dose” of radiation.

Just how much radiation?

There is, of course, radiation everywhere. We’re bombarded with cosmic radiation, and natural radioactive elements pepper the earth’s surface.

The unit of measurement for X-Rays is called, aptly enough, a roentgen (r). It’s been determined that 10r is a permissible dosage for the first 30 years of life. Full mouth X-Rays rack up 0.0025r. Based on these numbers, if you had 4000 full-mouth X-Rays, you’d be crazy, but you’d be healthy.

While we wish we could achieve zero exposure, there is no known alternative to X-Rays for diagnosis in dentistry.

We work with X-Rays every day—they are our “eyes.” There would be a very different kind of dentistry without them.

Exposure to dental X-Rays as compared to other sources

Lower GI X-Ray series 0.85r
Upper GI X-Ray series 0.64r
Radium dial wristwatch, worn 15 years 0.05r
1 Chest X-Ray 0.01r
Full-mouth Dental X-Rays 0.0025r

About Alan Limbird, DDS

Dr. Alan Limbird graduated from the University of California, San Francisco in 1983, in the top 10% of his class. He immediately entered into a residency at Loma Linda University in General Dental Practice. After completing his residency in 1984, he joined a dental practice in Ukiah which he owned and operated for 30 years. At Limbird Dentistry, Dr. Limbird offered his patients the highest quality treatment using state of the art dental technology to create beautiful smiles. Dr. Limbird sold his Ukiah practice in November 2014 and continues to work part-time with the new owners. In April 2017, Dr. Limbird joined Dr. James Hooper’s thriving dental practice in Fort Bragg. Dr. Limbird is excited to be offering dental services to his new patients on the coast. With the new Solea Dental Laser, he can offer an even higher level of care and technology than ever before. Dr. Limbird strives to stay on the cutting edge of dental technology. While working part-time for two years, he filled his free time by attending many dental education courses to fine tune his skills and learn new ones. Recent courses include: Oral Surgery, extractions, bone grafting, implant placement, implant restoration and extensive training with Dental Lasers. These skills will be put to good use in his Fort Bragg office since there are no dental specialists in the area. Dr. Limbird has been using Dental Lasers for over 20 years. Lasers have helped him to provide a higher level of service and excellence to his patients than was previously possible. His most recent technology purchase is the new Solea Carbon Dioxide Dental Laser. With this new laser, Dr. Limbird can prepare and place nearly all of your fillings comfortably and efficiently with NO SHOTS and NO PAIN! No longer do our patients need to fear going to the dentist. Dr. Limbird also has extensive training in Cosmetic Dentistry. He works with only the best dental laboratories and uses the highest quality materials to give you the best smile possible! Dr. Limbird and his wife, Laura, have always loved spending time on the Mendocino Coast. They now live in Mendocino full time and are pleased to be a part of the coastal community.

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