Dental Xray Safety

How Safe Are Dental X-Rays?

If you go to the dentist regularly, you’ve probably had dental x-rays performed on a yearly or bi-annual basis. X-rays help to show the dentist several crucial things related to your teeth. Not only can they view the density and formation of emerged teeth, but they can also allow the dentist to look under the gumline and see how permanent teeth are developing. They are very integral to helping the dentist protect your teeth, but since x-rays involve radiation, how safe is the process?

As you might have guessed, the answer to that question is “very safe.” So safe in fact that x-rays can even be taken in the mouths of women who are pregnant! Below, we take an in-depth look at the dental x-ray process and how we work hard to keep you protected throughout the imaging process.

Understanding Dental Radiation

Most people know x-rays involve exposure to radiation, and radiation exposure can be harmful to your health. What a lot of people don’t know is, we are exposed to radiation naturally throughout our everyday lives, in very minimal doses. Radiation is often measured in millirems, and a million millirems are considered a fatal amount. During a dental exam, a patient is usually exposed to between 0.4 and 0.9 millirems of radiation. To say that’s far below the dangerous level of radiation exposure is an understatement – it’s practically nothing.

We’re exposed to radiation in other everyday activities. For example, you’ll be exposed to 0.01 millirems every time you eat a banana, and you’ll be exposed to four millirems of radiation on a cross country flight. Due to its altitude, residents of Denver are exposed to 50 millirems of radiation on an annual basis, and the average person is exposed to between 200 and 400 millirems of radiation throughout the course of a year. Dental x-rays are just a minuscule portion of that amount, which is still far below what could be considered a dangerous level of exposure.

As you can see, the benefits of dental x-rays far outweigh the potential drawbacks of radiation exposure because such a small amount of radiation is used. We’ll still provide patients and pregnant women with a radiation cover during the imaging process because we want to help reduce the amount of lifetime radiation each person is exposed to.

Make an Appointment

Now that you know just how safe dental x-rays are, there’s no excuse for skipping your regular dental appointments. These x-rays help to spot cavities, issues with previous dental work and identify how your permanent teeth are developing, so they are very important as you continue to grow.

Most dentists will recommend getting your teeth x-rayed on a yearly basis, but if you can’t remember the last time your teeth were scanned, consider setting up an appointment with Dr. Brooks. The procedure is quick and painless and provides us with much-needed information, so make sure you have x-rays taken this year. For more information, reach out to our office today.

Dental Xrays

The Benefits of Dental X-Rays

Dental X-rays are are very beneficial tool for both the dentist and patient when it comes to protecting teeth and keeping them healthy long into the future. X-rays are at least partially covered under most insurance plans, and they can help paint a clear picture of what’s going on in your mouth. Below, we take a look at the numerous benefits of dental X-rays.

Sees What We Can’t

Your dentist can spot cavities or plaque buildup on your teeth, but it’s impossible for them to tell where tooth enamel is weakening or how your child’s permanent teeth are forming without the assistance of an X-ray. This diagnostic tool allows dentists to see things that they normally couldn’t with the naked eye, so they can stop potential problems in their infancy.

Highlights Cavities

Some cavities can be difficult to spot, especially if they occur in the close spaces between teeth. With X-ray imaging, your dentist can learn where these cavities are without having to dig around for a while in your mouth. This shortens your visit and helps you get the treatment you need for new or developing cavities.

Allows For Comparisons Or Growth Tracking

If you get regular X-rays, or you simply get a second imaging test performed at a later date, your dentist will be able to compare to two images to see how teeth are forming or how treatments are working. If they notice that one tooth is coming in at a bad angle or that a nerve root is damaged, they can take preventative measures to prevent problems down the road.

Provides A Baseline

If you’re a new patient, X-rays are a great way for a dentist to be able to study your mouth and what work you’ve had done all by looking at a couple of images. You can have old X-rays forwarded to your new dentist, but the new office will usually like to get a baseline understanding of what’s going on inside your mouth with a new patient X-ray during your first visit.

Safe and Effective

Although very low doses of radiation are used during the X-ray, dental X-rays are very safe. Dentists take precautions to limit radiation exposure as much as possible, but you should let your doctor know if you think or know you’re pregnant to ensure there is no danger to you or your child.

For more information about dental X-rays, or to set up a dental appointment with Dr. Brooks, reach out to his office today at (952) 260-3156.