Are Dental X-Rays Safe?

Dental x-rays are part of dental services that both adults and children receive annually. Children get more x-rays than adults because their gums are developing, and doctors need to monitor the progress. Understandably, parents ask themselves are dental x-rays safe for children. The short answer is that dental x-rays are safe for both children and adults. Technology has made it possible that humans are exposed to minimum radiation during dental x-rays. Also, there are prevention measures that medical practitioners must take to reduce radiation exposure. However, most people without dental conditions usually undergo only one x-ray per year, which doesn't have harmful effects on the body. 

Cigno Family Dental is committed to providing our patients with the best smiles. We use high-tech dental x-rays to get the most accurate view of your smile possible. Call us to schedule an appointment at our Greenfield, WI dental office.

Why Do Dentists Perform X-Rays?

Dentists need to perform x-rays to see what is happening beneath the gums without having to cut open your gums. Modern dentistry practices require a dentist to perform an x-ray when there is a need for one and not as a standard procedure for dental checkups. Still, dentists do need x-rays to make informed decisions about the next step in treating a patient. Here are some of the popular reasons for x-rays. 

  • X-rays reveal any underlying conditions that may be causing pain to a patient. The results help a doctor decide on the best course of action. 
  • A dentist will recommend an x-ray if you are a first time client and you do not have any copies of your medical history from your previous dentist. 
  • X-rays are useful in monitoring the progress of kids' dental development, especially the ones experiencing some issues. Dentists can take corrective measures in advance to prevent further developmental issues. 
  • A dentist needs to take x-rays periodically to ensure that everything looks good and you have nothing to worry about when it comes to your dental health. 
  • X-rays are part of the medical records that dentists keep regarding all patients. Records are useful for references or proof that all the right procedures are followed if a client has a complaint. 

Are Dental X-Rays Safe? What You Need to Know

Dental x-rays are safe from harmful radiation compares to other human-made sources of radiation. The radiation you get from a dental x-ray is so small that your body doesn't even experience any side effects when you take a couple of them in a year. X-rays printed on the film have a low radiation exposure, while the radiation exposure goes even lower if your dentist uses a digital x-ray machine. 

In general, technology has come a long way to ensure that x-ray machines take the shortest time possible to do the imaging and reduce the time a patient is exposed to radiation. The machines can also target a specific area, unlike traditional machines that expose x-rays to a larger surface area during imaging. Dental health practitioners are taught various protective measures that they need to do to ensure that patients are protected throughout the procedure. Overall, the amount of radiation that patients are exposed to during dental x-rays is insignificant to a child's or adult's health. Put it bluntly; many items expose people to radiation exposure in higher quantities than dental x-rays. You have nothing to worry about when you are going for a dental x-ray. 

What Protective Measurements Do Dental Clinics Take?

There are standard protective "bibs" that dental health practitioners use to reduce radiation absorption during dental x-rays. The protective articles are placed on the chest and the pelvic area to protect all the essential organs. A thyroid collar is used to protect the thyroid gland for people with thyroid issues. Some dental clinics prefer to use thyroid collars for all their x-ray procedures as a safety precaution. 

In addition to the safety precautions, dental x-ray machines focus on a specific area to reduce radiation exposure. Modern machines do produce a minimal amount of exposure and take a short time to take the image. You will be on the x-ray platform for a few minutes, and it takes about one minute for the imaging process. 

Who Shouldn't Undergo Dental X-rays?

Pregnant women should not undergo dental x-rays because they are in a delicate health condition. It is imperative for anyone pregnant to declare the situation to a dentist before the examination process. It doesn't matter how far along you are with the pregnancy; you need to be straightforward with your dentist for your health. A dentist will opt for a different approach to ensure that both you and the baby stay safe. 

How Many Types of Dental X-Rays are Available?

There are several x-rays that dentists use to diagnose various dental conditions in adults and children. Each of them serves a different purpose and is only performed after the express recommendations of a dentist. 

Periapical X-ray: It shows a tooth from the crown to the root for further examination to identify cavities or a problem with the jawbone. A dentist can choose to examine one or two teeth, searching for the issue a patient may have. 

Bitewing X-ray: It can highlight the crowns of teeth in a specific section of the mouth. The x-ray helps dentists find cavities in areas that are hard to reach or examine through traditional dental methods. 

Occlusal X-ray: It comes in handy on examining the arch of the top or bottom jaw of a patient. A jaw plays a crucial role in determining how permanent teeth will come in and appear in the mouth.

Cone Beam Computerized Tomography: The x-ray provides 3D images of a patient's mouth for examination by a dentist. It is the best way to determine the state of the spacing between teeth. It also gives dentists a complete overview of the developmental progress of a patient. 

Orthodontic X-ray: It shows an image of the side of a child's head. It is not as common as the bitewing x-rays. 

Panoramic X-ray: It is an excellent way for a dentist to evaluate developmental progress. It shows an image of the entire mouth for easy evaluation of the progress of a treatment regime. 

Do I Need to Worry About My Child?

The safety of a child is always at the forefront of the mind of a parent. Understandably, parents are curious about the long-term effects that a child can endure from undergoing multiple x-rays in a year. You do not have anything to worry about when it comes to the health of your little one. Children are smaller than adults, and imaging their jaws takes a shorter time to do it. There are guidelines about child-size radiation exposure to preserve the health of all kids. 

Moreover, dental x-rays are than any other x-ray procedures performed in the medical world. Therefore, you can rest easy whenever a dentist recommends that your child needs to undergo a dental x-ray. Here are the figures MREM (unit for measuring radiation) that people get exposed to during x-rays. 

  • Full Body CAT scan - 1,000
  • Chest CAT - 700
  • Mammogram - 72
  • Pelvis x-ray - 70 
  • Abdomen x-ray - 60
  • Chest x-ray - 10
  • Dental x-ray - 1.5
  • Hand/ Foot - 0.5

An adult would have to undertake a dental x-ray every day for decades to reach the amount of radiation exposure an adult would get from one full-body CAT scan. That is how safe dental x-rays are for both adults and children. So follow the dentist's orders and let your child get as many scans as needed to ensure that treatments are going as they should. 

Do I Need to Prepare for A Dental Appointment?

Most patients think that they must brush, floss, and use mouthwash before going for a dental appointment. Parents forget that dental appointments include cleaning services, and there is no need for thorough dental cleaning before an appointment. You can make sure that your child follows their daily routine before you go to the doctor's appointment. It would be best if you arrived on time at the dental clinic not to have to stay there for longer than necessary. 

Do Dentists Explain About the X-Ray Procedure?

Yes. It is standard procedure for a dentist or a dentist's assistant to explain to a patient what happens during a routine and why the x-ray is necessary. You can ask all the questions that you want answers to before the procedure. However, there is no cause for worry because you now know that no harm will come to you or your child during a dental x-ray. 

Discover How Dental X-Rays Can Transform Your Smile!

Unlike popular belief, it is apparent that dental x-rays do not have any harmful effects on the human body. Dental x-rays have among the lowest radiation units among medical x-rays performed in different areas of the body. Therefore, it would take thousands of medical, dental x-rays for the radiation units to reach a body scan. The answer to the question "Are dental x-rays safe?" is yes. There is no reason to miss your next dental appointment in fear of getting a recommendation to take an x-ray. 

On top of the few radiations emitted by dental x-rays, the dental clinic provides protective material that ensures no radiation goes to the major organs. Furthermore, you will be in the capable hands of an experienced dentist who has recommended x-rays for many patients. You can rest easy knowing that a widely experienced dentist will be handling your oral health consultations and treatments. 

Cigno Family Dental is committed to providing our patients with the best smiles. We use high-tech dental x-rays to get the most accurate view of your smile possible. Call us to schedule an appointment today!

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