One of the most common questions about dental work is the use of x-rays and what are the risks and health benefits. Is it safe for pregnant women? Does it cause cancer? Is it safe to have multiple x-rays? It is common for us to have questions, especially when it comes to our health. Here is some more information about the process of dental x-rays and the safety concerns.
The Process Of Dental X-Rays
X-rays help to show your dentist what is happening in your mouth. It can show what is not visible to the human eye during a regular dental examination. Taking x-rays helps the dentist to see into your gums and look at the roots of your teeth.
They can also detect areas of decay, decay beneath a filling, reveal bone loss or reveal an abscess. In children, they are used to watch for decay or reveal developmental abnormalities.
The people who should be the most concerned about dental x-rays are pregnant women. While the possibility of a harm is low, it is not impossible. Since the radiation is not directly over your abdomen, the exposure to radiation will be low. Let your doctor or dentist know if you are pregnant and they can recommend the best course of action.
Your dentist will work to ensure that your child only receives the necessary x-rays and limited radiation. The Image Gently Campaign encourages parents to ask their dentists about updated equipment, uses collars to protect the thyroid, and only uses child friendly exposure times.
Radiation exposure can cause changes to the cells and organs in your body. It can cause damage to your DNA and body function if exposed to too much. While radiation is used as a cancer treatment, it can lead to a higher risk of developing a different type of cancer later in life. Consistent exposure to radiation can cause cancers and damage to your DNA, but dental x-rays don’t emit enough radiation to truly damage your body unless they are performed on you daily or extensively.
Traditional Vs. Digital X-Ray
There are two common types of x-rays that are used in dental offices. Digital x-rays are becoming more and more popular and have considerable benefits compared to traditional.
Traditional x-rays use radiation to interact with the teeth, gums and bones and produce an image on film. The traditional method can be taken inside your mouth or outside of your mouth.
Digital combines the power of computer technology with electronic sensors. This method uses less radiation and prints out the image on film. The image appears almost as soon as the sensor is placed in the mouth. While this method may require more training for dentists, they far prefer the advantages of digital x-rays.
If you are concerned, you can speak to your dentist about the reasoning behind them and why you need it. Share your concerns and ask questions to the source. Dentists can understand concerns and give your reliable facts about the risks of the scan or radiation. Current guidelines require that x-rays only be given when needed for a diagnosis.
Compared To A Banana?
While x-rays include radiation, the amount of radiation that is admitted is just above that of a banana. It’s true, the average banana contains about 0.1 radiation units and a single dental x-ray exposes you to around 0.2 units. This small amount of radiation is no larger than the amount we may experience just going about our day-to-day lives from the sun, minerals and appliances in your home.
Who Needs X-Rays?
Some patients are more prone to having to receive x-rays. These can include children, because of their developing teeth and jaw bones. Children’s teeth are smaller and can decay quicker than adult teeth.
Those adults who drink lots of sugary or acidic beverages may be more apt to have x-rays consistently. Sugar helps create an environment for cavities to thrive, so having x-rays taken to evaluate the depth of the cavity is necessary for the dentist to complete the filling.
People who experience dry mouth from medications, disease or damaged salivary glands are more prone to cavities.
Located in Sunset, UT, our practice cares about the quality and level of care that we offer to our patients. We offer services in general dentistry, family dentistry, dental bridges, root canals, protective and preventive dental care. We want you to make informed decisions about your dental care and oral health. Our goal is to help you achieve a beautiful smile without unnecessary work and in your budget.
Having a smile that you are comfortable and confident with improves your health. Taking care of your teeth with proper dental care prevents gum disease and tooth decay and x-rays are sometimes included in this oral care. Working with us will provide you with an understanding environment and exceptional care. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment and learn more about our practice.