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The History of Oral Health: X-Rays

The History of Oral Health: X-Rays

Physicist Wilhelm Röntgen accidentally discovered X-rays in 1895. The first X-ray ever taken was of his wife’s hand. She had to hold her hand still for 15 minutes!

The “X” stands for “unknown.” The first dental X-ray took a whopping 25 minutes.

Edmund Kells, a prominent New Orleans dentist, took the first dental radiograph of a live person in 1896. X-rays are a form of electromagnetic radiation (EMR). Other familiar forms of EMR include visible light, radio waves and microwaves.

Scientists originally believed X-rays passed through the body as harmlessly as light. When Thomas Edison’s assistant died of skin cancer in 1904 after working extensively with X-rays, it was realized precautions should be taken to keep exposure to a minimum.

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