Are Dental X-Rays Safe?
Dental x-rays are common requirements for helping you maintain your best oral health. These imaging scans have very low radiation doses. In fact, they provide only a fraction of radiation that other types of X-rays do. So if you feel concerned about your need for dental X-rays, take some time to learn a bit more about these images.
Your Raleigh or Goldsboro general dentistry office takes safety precautions seriously when performing dental X-rays. In fact, four bitewing X-rays only expose you to the same level of radiation as a one to two hour airplane flight.
Do I Need Dental X-Rays?
Dentists use X-rays to see the issues in your mouth, as well as your overall oral health condition. They use them for making a diagnosis, identifying problems and planning treatment. Things your dentist sees on an X-ray include:
- Areas of decay not visible to the naked eye
- Gum disease-related bone loss
- Root canal changes
- Wisdom teeth
Not having access to X-rays compromises the quality of your dental care. Many problems go undiagnosed. But with these images, your dentist provides the best possible oral health care. They can also prepare the right course of treatment for braces, tooth implants and dentures.
Are Dental X-Rays Safe for Children?
Children have a higher sensitivity to radiation from X-rays. Many parents worry about this, as their children need dental X-rays. But the amount of radiation exposure these images produce is safe for your child. X-rays play a major role in your child’s dental treatment. Because their jaws and teeth change on a constant basis, your dentist needs the images for many reasons. They help your dentist in several ways, such as:
- Ensuring the mouth is large enough for erupting teeth
- Tracking development of wisdom teeth
- Determining whether baby teeth are loosening to make room for permanent ones
- Identifying tooth decay and gum disease early
Should I Get Dental X-Rays if I Am Pregnant?
Pregnant women should not undergo X-rays of any kind, including dental. Although these imaging studies only expose you to minimal radiation, the fetus’ health is most important. If you are pregnant, inform your dentist right away and do not go through the X-ray process.
However, sometimes pregnant women cannot avoid needing dental X-rays. A dental emergency, such as trauma to the mouth, is one such example. Another example is that of extended treatment that requires X-rays, if you become pregnant during the treatment period.
Always discuss your pregnancy and X-ray needs with your dentist to determine the best course of action in your treatment. Dental health actually plays a major role in prenatal health, so the two go hand-in-hand. Women with advanced gum disease actually experience higher risk for problems during pregnancy. So you should never avoid seeing your dentist, particularly when pregnant.
If you do need X-rays during pregnancy, your dentist takes special precautions. A leaded apron and thyroid collar provides protection against radiation for you and your growing baby.
Knowing When You Need X-Rays at the Dentist
Talk to your dentist about taking X-rays only when necessary. This is the best means of minimizing your radiation exposure through all phases of your life. It is up to your dental professional to make the right decision for your oral health, when it comes to these images.
Some factors in your dentist’s decision-making about dental X-rays include:
- Stage of dental development
- Oral health history
- Risk factors for disease
- Specific treatment plan
One way to reduce the number of X-rays you need is to ensure you have your images transferred from your prior dental office to your new one. If you are changing dentists, make this a top priority. But simply talking to your dental care provider about reducing your radiation exposure can mean a reduction in how many X-rays they request.
Dental X-Rays in Raleigh and Goldsboro, NC
Dental X-rays are extremely safe, particularly when compared to X-ray equipment and methods of the distant past. But you should talk to your dentist about your concerns for a better understanding of why you need the images and if they play a major role in your treatment.
When you need dental X-rays and other dental treatment, schedule a visit with the caring professionals of Carolina Dental Arts. With two locations in Raleigh on New Bern Avenue and at Glenwood South, as well as a Goldsboro dental office, you receive dental treatment with convenience that is close to home.