Dr. Rebecca Charpentier can diagnose and screen for a host of maladies thanks to sophisticated imaging technology. X-rays are now so frequently used and so effective that most of us take their capabilities for granted—but it was not so long ago a tumor or damaged bone couldn’t be found without the patient actually being cut open!
The discovery of x-rays was a happy accident. A physics professor named Wilhelm Roentgen was testing whether cathode rays could pass through glass and observed a mysterious light that would pass through human tissue and to reveal details of the bones and tissue underneath. Because Roentgen didn’t know what the rays were, he called them “x”, meaning “unknown”.
The medical community and the public alike were very excited about x-rays, and as their use became commonplace, the potential side effects of radiation exposure were ignored at first. Scientists like Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla sounded the alarm about the dangers of radiation, but x-rays were still used for entertainment purposes (such as carnivals) during the 1930s and 1940s.
Over the years, scientists have developed a better understanding of risks tied to x-ray radiation and developed procedures and protocols to minimize unnecessary exposure. The discovery and development of x-rays over time allowed for advancements like 3D, cone beam, and other types of imaging essential to world-class dentistry today.
The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.