Dental X-Ray Safety
Are you worried, or putting off a dental check up, because of an X-ray phobia? An X-ray is an extremely common procedure, transmitting a safe low dose of radiation. For peace of mind, it’s helpful to understand why a dental X-ray is necessary. Find out what the safe practice is for dental X-rays, and the circumstances in which X-rays should be avoided.
Why is a Dental X-ray Necessary?
Dental X-rays are a common procedure performed for most patients that come in for dental check ups. Ideally, X-rays are performed yearly but can happen more often if a dentist is tracking your dental treatment. The X-ray helps a dentist assess your teeth and see beneath the gums. An X-ray can detect:
If you’re a new patient at a dental clinic, your dentist will perform an X-ray to get a clear and full picture of your dental health.
The dental X-ray provides dental professionals with the ability to assess and diagnose damage accurately.
What to Expect from Different Types of X-rays
There are different types of X-rays, which record different views of the mouth. They’re essentially capturing different perspectives of the mouth - not scary at all! The most common dental X-rays include:
The bitewing X-ray is most commonly used to check for cavities between teeth, and check your bone levels.
The panoramic X-ray is used to check on wisdom teeth, assess jaw problems and plan for dental implants. This X-ray rotates around the head.
The periapical X-ray looks at 1-2 teeth at a time. It highlights the entire length of the tooth from the root to the crown.
The dentist or dental assistant will explain all dental X-ray procedures before conducting the X-ray. If you’re wary, share your concerns with the dental professionals and they’ll explain the procedure in further detail.
X-rays do involve a small amount of radiation, however those levels are extremely low and safe for both children and adults. The amount of radiation is lower if the dental practice develops the X-rays with film.
X-rays and Children
Are you worried about your child being exposed to radiation in X-rays? Yes children are more sensitive to radiation - but the dental X-ray is considered safe for children. Children’s teeth are constantly changing and it’s crucial that all development is assessed, and treatment is developed early.
X-rays and Pregnancy
Pregnant women should generally avoid dental X-rays. Although only a low dose of radiation is transmitted through the procedure, it’s best to avoid all radiation exposure. A growing fetus is sensitive, and all safety precautions are necessary. If you’re pregnant, disclose that fact to your dentist to ensure you’re not exposing yourself to radiation unnecessarily.
In some special cases, a dental X-ray should be performed on pregnant women. If the pregnant patient has a dental emergency or is suffering from a oral disease, the X-ray is crucial for patient treatment. Discuss your options with your dentist, and remember to disclose your pregnancy.
To avoid X-rays during pregnancy, ensure you’re having regular check-ups with your dentist. If possible, discuss your oral health with your dentist before falling pregnant.