X-rays provide useful visual data for dentists to utilize when treating you. Occasionally, guests to our office ask about the radiation from x-rays and the dangers associated with high-exposure. Rest assured, a dental x-ray is one of the safest medical imaging procedures there is. Here’s what you need to know about getting a dental x-ray.
The Purpose of Oral X-Rays
X-ray imaging of the mouth can show our dental team damage to your teeth as well as disease. They can also show incoming teeth that could be problematic. X-rays allow our team to prevent problems by addressing them early. Rather than wait for excessive tooth damage to become visible, a simple x-ray procedure can identify it before it becomes painful.
Dangers of X-Ray Radiation
Excessive radiation exposure has been linked to increasing the risk of cancer. However, not all radiation sources are the same. It matters greatly where the radiation is coming from, how much you are exposed to, and for what length of time. X-rays have not been shown to present a significant increase in cancer development.
Comparing X-Ray Radiation
Dental x-rays are among the lowest dose of radiation producing procedures in medical imaging. It would take roughly 1,200 panoramic x-rays of your mouth to equal one CT Scan. Did you know that when you fly in an airplane you are exposed to a small amount of radiation? A panoramic x-ray of your mouth is only half of the radiation you’re exposed to on a 7-hour plane ride. The amount of radiation is even lower for a routine x-ray exam. A routine procedure including 4 intraoral images is about the same dose of radiation from a 1-2 hour plane ride. A dental x-ray provides less than the amount of radiation you are exposed to in the average day from natural radiation.
Even though dental x-rays are safe and expose you to a small amount of radiation, our office takes additional measures to keep you safe. First, state laws and regulations set the limit of radiation patients can be exposed to. We never exceed these restrictions. Our experienced team is also trained to use the x-ray equipment. Visitors are provided with a shield or bib that provides additional protection.
What You Can Do
Communication is key. If you are a new patient, please provide us with your medical records so that our team knows about any previous medical imaging you have had. Talk to our dentist about your concerns. Together we’ll work with you to ensure you are treated in a safe environment.