If you’ve ever visited the dentist, then you’ve probably had some dental x-rays. X-Rays are part of most dentist’s routine preventative care regimen, and help detect cavities and other issues before they result in extensive damage.
But many patients wonder: are dental x-rays safe? Exposing your body to extra radiation on a routine basis can feel alarming. The short answer: dental x-rays are extremely safe, and actually help maintain your dental health.
Here’s what you need to know about dental x-rays.
X-rays allow dental professionals to have a closer look at your teeth, gums, roots, and the bone structure in your mouth. For some patients, x-rays are part of a routine check-up, while others need x-rays to examine painful areas of the mouth or view atypical structural elements. Without x-rays, your dentist wouldn’t catch subtle warning signs like small cavities forming in between teeth or early signs of bone loss.
X-rays are an extremely useful and necessary part of routine dental care, and help dentists identify potential issues such as:
- Position and development of teeth.
- Bone loss.
- Jaw fractures.
- Jaw lesions.
- Bone or jaw abnormalities.
What about Radiation?
The amount of radiation you receive from a single x-ray is extremely minimal and is not dangerous. According to the University of Michigan School of Dentistry, “the radiation used for dental X-rays has been compared to the amount of background radiation a person gets daily.” We’re all experiencing a little radiation all the time. As we go about our daily lives, we’re exposed to countless radiation sources including airplane flights, the sun, the soil, and even drinking water. The amount of radiation from a dental x-ray is comparable to other daily activities, and shouldn’t be a cause for concern.
This being said, we still recommend taking precautions to limit the amount of radiation you receive from an x-ray.
- Wear a lead apron to protect internal organs.
- Use updated equipment and procedures.
- Consult the dentist about child-size x-ray times.
- Consult the dentist if you’re pregnant.
What are Common Dental X-Rays?
There are a few commonly used dental x-rays that patients might experience on a routine basis. For the most part, routine cleanings involve periapical x-rays or bitewing x-rays, depending on the area of the mouth and dental concerns.
Intraoral x-rays, taken with the film inside the mouth, provide a detailed view of the teeth, roots, and jaw bone. Extraoral x-rays, taken with the film outside the mouth, focus on larger-scale issues originating in the jaw or skull.
Bitewing x-rays are very common and provide a thorough snapshot of one area of the mouth. These x-rays allow dentists to take an image of your upper and lower teeth to look at cavities, bone structure, fillings, crowns, and other elements.
Periapical x-rays show teeth from the crown all the way to the root and the tooth’s connection to the jaw. According to the Cleveland Clinic, “periapical X-rays detect any unusual changes in the root and surrounding bone structures.”
As the name suggests, panoramic x-rays provide a full view of both rows of teeth and the entire mouth. These x-rays are helpful for diagnosing issues in the jaw, tumors, and larger structural problems.
Cephalometric x-rays capture an image of the entire side of the head, including the teeth and jaw. These x-rays are commonly used to determine the best course of orthodontic treatment for a patient’s specific mouth and jaw structure.
Taking Care of Your Teeth at Treasured Smiles Adult and Cosmetic Dentistry
Treasured Smiles Adult and Cosmetic Dentistry offers high-quality care for a variety of dental concerns. From routine cleanings, to cosmetic alterations, to restorative treatments, our team’s professionalism and expertise guarantees you’ll have a positive experience. Plus, our updated office space includes top-notch equipment and comfortable features so your trip to the dentist’s office can be stress-free.
Interested in prioritizing your dental health? Our team of qualified dentists and hygienists will help guide you to the best treatment plan for your wellbeing and lifestyle. A little preventative care can go a long way, contact Treasured Smiles Adult and Cosmetic Dentistry today to set up your first routine cleaning.