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Are Dental X-Rays Safe?

Dental X-rays are considered safe. However, the small amount of radiation exposure leads many to ask questions about side effects and the safety of dental X-rays. That is where we come in. We are happy to answer all of your dental radiation questions and/or concerns.

What are Dental X-Rays?

Dental X-rays are a diagnostic tool that helps to diagnose issues that are not visible above the gumline or to the human eye. A fun fact, the “X” in the term X-ray, really does not stand for anything.

Using these images dentists can detect issues in adults like:
  • Decay – especially between the teeth and beneath existing restorations
  • Bone loss in the mandible and maxilla (lower and top jaw)
  • Changes in the bone or root canal due to infection
  • Condition and position of teeth
  • Abscesses (an infection at the root of a tooth or between the gum and a tooth)
  • Cysts and some types of tumors
In children, X-rays can detect:
  • Developing decay
  • If there is enough space in the mouth to fit all incoming teeth.
  • Developing wisdom teeth
  • Impacted teeth (unable to emerge through the gums)

Dental issues are like most health problems that when caught early are more likely curable and/or treatable. X-rays can therefore help detect dental issues early, leading to a more successful treatment plan.

Radiation Concerns – Are Dental X-Rays Safe?

As stated immediately in this article, dental X-rays are safe. It is important to note that amount of radiation exposure during dental X-rays is extremely small. Therefore, the potential negative side effects are very unlikely.

According to the American Dental Association, “Dental X-ray tools and techniques are designed to limit the body’s exposure to radiation and every precaution is taken to ensure that radiation exposure is As Low As Reasonable Achievable (the ALARA principle). A leaded apron and/or a leaded thyroid collar may be used to shield the abdomen and thyroid.”

If you do have concerns about radiation and the potential side effects always talk to your dentist first. It is especially important to tell your dentist if you are pregnant, as additional protocols may be taken.

Dental X-Rays are Safe

The next time you head in for your regular visit you can feel rest assured that your safety is always our number one priority. Whether we are focusing on limiting radiation exposure or COVID-19 prevention you are always the number one priority.