Dental X-rays are a common and extremely useful tool that allows dentists to see parts of the mouth he could not see otherwise. Without X-rays, various damages and diseases that cannot be seen in a normal dental exam would go unnoticed and potentially cause much more harm and permanent damage than if the problem was caught earlier on by a dental X-ray. Dental X-rays are considered safe for both adults and children.
Who needs dental X-rays?
How often one has dental X-rays is dependent upon their unique situation; their oral health, genetic predispositions, risk for disease, age, and so on. People presenting with symptoms of a disease may need to have dental X-rays more often than someone who is not. New patients are also typically required to undergo X-rays so that their new Irving dentist can understand more about their current dental health.
Children also usually need to have dental X-rays more often due to the fact that their jaws and teeth are in constant development and their teeth are typically at a higher risk for tooth decay. Dentists need to keep an eye on the growth of adult teeth in children to ensure they are properly implanting and to prevent complications, as well as:
- Make sure their wisdom teeth are developing properly
- Make sure that their mouth is large enough for the incoming teeth
- Identify gum disease
Many parents worry about their child undergoing dental X-rays and being exposed to the radiation, however, this diagnostic tool is deemed safe for children as well.
What are the risks of dental X-rays?
While dental X-rays do involve radiation, the levels of exposure are very low. Because the levels of exposed radiation are so low, they are considered safe for both children and adults. Many dentists are switching to digital X-rays rather than X-ray machines that require film development, as they emit even less radiation. However, traditional film X-rays are still deemed safe. Dentists take necessary precautions to ensure you are exposed to the least amount of radiation, especially to your vital organs, by placing a protective apron over your chest, torso, and pelvic region. In certain cases, usually for pregnant women and for children, your dentist may also use a leaded thyroid collar to protect your thyroid from unnecessary radiation exposure.
Who should not have dental X-rays?
The one exception to X-ray radiation exposure is women who are pregnant, who should avoid any type of X-rays. Even though the radiation is quite minimal, if you believe you could be pregnant, you must tell your dentist, as radiation is not as safe for your fetus.
There are certain cases, women who have dental emergencies, and women with periodontal disease, in which even if they are pregnant they must still undergo dental X-rays. In these cases, dentists take every necessary measure to ensure the safety of the woman and her unborn child. Speak to your doctor and your dentist before undergoing any type of X-ray while pregnant.
Going to a dentist that you trust is extremely important. Our experienced team here at Cosmetic and Family Dentistry prioritizes our patients and their health, comfort, and safety. If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, contact us today.