Even during a regular cleaning, it is common for your family dentist to recommend dental X-rays. Most likely, at a certain point in our lives, most of us have had a mouth x-ray taken, and for good reason.
X-rays are a relatively common dental technique that enables your dentist to see through your tooth enamel, into your bone, beneath your gums, and to the roots of your teeth. This technique involves a small amount of radiation, so it’s safe to undergo this procedure. According to the University of Michigan School of Dentistry, these X-rays release low levels of radiation compared to the amount of background radiation we naturally experience daily.
Why are dental X-rays taken, and when are they harmful?
There are different classifications of dental X-rays, each designed to capture a unique perspective of your mouth.
- Dental Bitewings: When biting down, dental bitewings provide a close-up view of the crowns of your upper and lower teeth. Frequently usage of this type of X-ray by dentists in detecting cavities between your teeth.
- Occlusal X-rays: Occlusal X-rays assist your dentist in evaluating your top and lower teeth, the roof of the mouth, and the floor of the mouth. The utilization of this technique by dentists helps to identify additional teeth, unerupted teeth, jaw fractures, oral pathology, and other dental anomalies.
- Panoramic X-rays: The machine rotates around the head to provide a complete view of your mouth. This technique can assess wisdom teeth, make room for dental implants, detect jaw anomalies, and even for orthodontic purposes.
- Periapical X-rays: The periapical X-ray helps provide a close-up view of a tooth’s crown, root, and surrounding bone.
What risks may X-ray pose?
The radiation levels from X-rays are very low, and there are so many safety procedures that there is little to no risk of cancer from them. So, the dentist will only recommend X-rays when it is necessary.
There is no definitive answer to the query of how many dental X-rays are safe in a single day, month, or year. When taking X-rays, all dental professionals undergo training to follow the “ALARA” principle, which stands for “As Low as Reasonably Achievable,” to ensure that the patient only receives a safe amount of radiation.
Who should avoid getting X-rays?
In some cases, such as when advised by a medical practitioner, it may be prudent to forego mouth X-rays. It could apply to young children or pregnant women. However, according to the American Dental Association (ADA), dental X-rays are generally safe for pregnant patients. Furthermore, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Committee on Health Care for Underserved Women concurs. Pregnant women often need reassurance that X-rays (with protection for the belly and thyroid) are safe during oral disease prevention and treatment.
How should I prepare for dental X-rays?
There are no special steps or precautions to take before getting mouth X-rays other than routine brushing and flossing. When it is time for X-rays during your dental appointment, wearing a lead vest or thyroid collar over your chest is mandatory, and positioning the X-ray machine to acquire photos of your oral cavity.
To solve your oral health problems, seek top dental care.
Our dentists provide comprehensive service that meets short and long-term dental care needs at Dunn Dental, Oakville Family Dentist. We are committed to assisting you in keeping a stunning smile. X-rays are only taken as necessary by our dental professionals, and you can rest assured of all safety measures every time.
Whether you require dental emergency care, root canal treatment, cavity fillings, or a routine dental check-up and cleaning, we provide a wide range of dental services in a relaxing environment for you and your family.