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.