How Safe Are Dental X-Rays?

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How safe are dental x-rays? Dentist standing next to dentistry light

Whether you are wondering whether dental x-rays are safe for your child or yourself, we’re here to answer some of the most common questions about x-rays to give you some peace of mind. The first thing that you should know is that this type of x-ray is a commonly done procedure that is considered safe for patients of all ages. Although they use a very low dose of radiation, it is far below the amount used in other types of imaging procedures. In fact, a standard x-ray equates to the same amount of radiation that you would be exposed to during a short one or two hour flight on an airplane. We have put together a short guide that better explains the process so that you understand how dental x-rays works.

The Safety of Dental X-Rays

To give you a better idea of how safe dental x-rays are, here are some commonly asked questions…

When would you need x-rays?

You would need x-rays to diagnose any issue that is not easily seen by your dentist. These issues could include areas of decay between teeth or below filings, bone loss caused by gum disease, abscesses that form in the root of the tooth or between gum and tooth, tumours, issues within the root canal, and anything else that may cause serious problems if left unchecked. X-rays allow your dentist to identify such issues so that they can be treated. They may also be used to prepare for tooth implants, braces, and other treatments as well.

What safety precautions are taken?

A number of precautions are taken during the procedure to ensure your safety. Usually, a single image is taken rather than multiple images. Dentists will use a far lower radiation setting for younger patients. You will also be given a leaded covering to protect other parts of your body against radiation. A good dentist will always explain the procedure beforehand and give you the chance to ask specific questions.

Are they safe for kids?

Many parents worry about subjecting their kids to this type of procedure. Even for small patients, the amount of radiation in this type of x-rays is minimal. X-rays can be very useful to identify changes and issues within a young patient’s growing teeth and jaws. Without x-rays, it becomes harder to check that new teeth are developing properly, wisdom teeth are growing without causing problems, primary teeth are loosening enough to accommodate any new teeth, and spot cavities or tooth decay.

What about moms-to-be?

Generally speaking, your dentist will usually avoid x-rays if you are pregnant. Although the risk is very small, most dentists would rather avoid any type of radiation at all. It is always a good idea to let your dentist know if you are pregnant. In some cases, however, x-rays may be needed if there are any serious issues that need urgent treatment or diagnosis. Speak to your dentist to see what they recommend.

We hope that these questions and answers help you gain more insight into how x-rays work. Here at Gateway Dental, our dentists in Durban are fully equipped to provide safe dental x-rays, giving you full peace of mind at all times.

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