Are Dental X-Rays Safe

Are Dental X-Rays Safe?

The use of x-rays in dental procedures has long been something that has caused concern in those patients worrying about radiation exposure. X-Rays are the default diagnostic tool once you’re in the dentist’s chair, and it’s little surprise given the amount of information that these experts are able to glean from the resulting images. This leaves the question, are the risks worth the benefits to the patients?

Tech Advancements

The truth of the matter is the amount of radiation a patient undergoing dental x-rays is exposed to has always been relatively minimal. Modern advancements have striven to reduce the amount of exposure an individual patient has with every new innovation. Combine that with the use of protective equipment like lead vests and similar, and every year dental x-rays get increasingly safe as exposure to radiation per image drops.

Who Needs Dental X-Rays?

These diagnostic tools are a vital part of your dentist’s practice, allowing them to see problems that exist beneath the skin and are otherwise unseen with just the human eye. These x-rays permit the dentist to identify multiple issues, including:

  • Decay – Much of the full extent of tooth decay can hide beneath the gum-line or between teeth.
  • Loss of Bone – Gum disease can lead to loss of bone, a condition that x-rays will reveal.
  • Infection – Abscesses occur at the root or between tooth and gum, hidden from view.
  • Tumors – Like the others on this list, these often occur out of plain view, x-rays find them.
  • Root Canal Issues – Not visible with the naked eye, x-rays reveal hidden issues here.

Lacking the diagnostic benefit of an x-ray, these problems could remain unseen. Dental x-rays are vital to your dentist’s ability to be able to identify issues, prepare dentures, braces, tooth implants, and other treatments. Not only are they safe, they’re an important part of your treatment.

Are Children Safe Under Dental X-Rays?

While children are more sensitive to the effects of radiation, the amount of exposure they receive from dental x-rays are so minimal they are considered safe. They are especially important for children given the speed at which their dental structures are changing and development. X-rays enable your dentist to identify:

  • Sufficient Space – To ensure there’s enough space in children’s mouth for developing teeth.
  • Wisdom Teeth – X-rays enable your dentist to monitor wisdom tooth development.
  • Proper Development – To ensure that baby teeth are loosening to make room for adult teeth.
  • Gum Disease and Decay – Early identification can help prevent infection and other issues.

Children can be particularly affected by dental problems, and x-rays are a powerful tool to identify them early and correct oral hygiene habits that can lead to long term problems.

Are Dental X-Rays Safe During Pregnancy?

Generally dental x-rays are avoided due to risks to the developing fetus, however in certain cases it may still be appropriate to receive dental x-rays during pregnancy. Always inform your dentist if you’re pregnant, as periodontal has been associated with problems during pregnancy.