Is It Safe to Have Dental X-Rays?
- December 15, 2021
- 6 mins read
Often patients want to know whether they can skip X-rays, believing they’re putting their safety at risk. It’s normal to have some concern about the safety of the procedure. Let’s start right from the beginning, though, and state – YES – dental X-Rays ARE SAFE.
Dental X-rays are a normal part of routine dental examinations and are considered a standard of care. Today’s modern dental X-ray devices and practices are designed to minimize the body’s radiation exposure. Every precaution is done to keep radiation exposure to a minimum.
What is an X-ray?
An X-Ray is a penetrating form of high-energy and very short wavelength electromagnetic radiation. Light itself is electromagnetic radiation, as are radio waves. They are part of an electromagnetic spectrum. Radiation sources are always present in our environment. Some are natural, while others are manmade.
Is radiation harmful? Yes, high doses of radiation can damage the DNA in our cells. But the dose you receive during an X-ray at your dentist is very low compared to what you are exposed to yearly. You are exposed to about 640 times the amount of radiation you experience during your dental X-ray every year!
We are exposed to radiation daily. It originates from the sun, your cell phone, and even flying on a commercial jetliner. The total radiation dosage from your dental X-ray is around 0.005 mSv (millisieverts,) which is less than the normal daily dose of radiation in daily life.
Why does your dental team stay far away?
If an X-ray is safe, why does your dentist cover you in a lead apron and have the whole staff vacate the room whenever you require a dental X-ray? The only reason the dentist and dental staff stay so far away is to avoid cumulative exposure throughout their career. There is only one X-ray taken a year for the average patient, so there is no danger.
Is there a good reason for me to have X-rays?
It’s critical to understand that a dentist can only observe a limited amount of information with a naked eye examination of your mouth. They can look between your teeth and behind your gums using X-rays. Dental X-rays are an important diagnostic tool for assisting your dentist in detecting damage and illness that are not evident during a routine dental examination. Giving them a higher possibility of correctly diagnosing any issue.
How often do I need to have an X-Ray?
The frequency with which X-rays should be taken is determined by your current dental health, age, disease risk, and any indications or symptoms of oral illness. For instance, children may require more frequent X-rays than adults do since their teeth and jaws are still developing, and their teeth are more susceptible to dental decay than adults’ teeth. Your dentist will evaluate your medical history and inspect your mouth to determine whether you require X-rays.
If you are a new patient, the dentist may require you to undergo X-rays to evaluate your present oral health status and create a baseline for future changes. Because a fresh set of X-rays will help your dentist see whether any new cavities have formed, examine your gum health, and evaluate your teeth’ growth and development, you will need a new series of X-rays.
When you used to see your previous dentist, you may have already been x-rayed. As a result, your new dentist may request that you get copies from your former dentist.
Preventative dentistry saves time and money
X-rays assist dentists in taking preventative measures and discovering oral health concerns sooner, helping to screen for health risks even earlier. By seeing images of what is under your gums or in between your teeth, your dentist can now tell if problems may arise in the future, which means you’ll save both time and money.
The need for an X-ray diagnostic is something to keep in mind while dealing with a patient’s health condition. Dentists have to examine what is happening under the surface to understand better why you may be having discomfort.
Are X-rays Harmful to Expecting Mothers?
Dental X-rays are even safe for pregnant ladies. Indeed, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists encourages the use of dental X-rays during pregnancy due to their benefits for both mother and child.
Diagnosing and treating any oral health problem early on helps prevent the transmission of dangerous germs to the infant and may also help reduce the baby’s chance of developing cavities in the future. Frequently, pregnant women are fitted with two protective vests, which help provide an even safer X-ray. However, pregnant women may choose to wait until after they deliver for their next dentist appointment to have an X-ray done.
Kyrene Family Dentistry is always concerned about your safety and your family’s dental and orthodontic care. We don’t recommend that you have any procedures that are not needed.
There are several reasons why we may recommend that you have dental X-rays. Some of these reasons include:
Monitor the healing and recovery of oral injuries and health: When an adult or a child experiences an injury to the mouth, we may use an X-ray to monitor the patient’s progress in healing and ensure they’ll be able to have a complete recovery.
Identify oral infections: When Cavities, gingivitis, oral infections, and other dental issues are a concern, we use an X-ray to be more equipped to detect an oral disease before it spreads.
Determine if orthodontic treatment is essential: We will use dental X-rays to see if orthodontic treatment will benefit our patients.
In conclusion, dental X-rays are an essential part of regular dental exams and are essential to keeping general oral health in excellent condition. The best and safest approach to see and identify damage and illness in teeth that can’t be detected with the naked eye is through dental X-rays. Dental X-rays during pregnancy are not associated with any known risk. At your next appointment, ask us for further information on the benefits of X-rays.