Are Dental X-Rays Safe?

Nov 01, 2020

Dental X-rays are relatively common and every once in a while, your dentist may suggest you get one. The X-rays or radiographs provide detailed images of the hidden structures within the mouth, that areused for diagnostic purposes. Through them a dentist is able to review your oral health development as well as identify any underlying issues that relate to your teeth, jaws and oral soft tissues. Without dental X-rays, it would be difficult for dentists in Plano, TX, to offer accurate diagnosis or even administer the right course of treatment for any dental problems you may have.

How Does It Work?

In the past, getting dental X-Rays was a frustrating and cumbersome process. The images were taken on a film which had to be developed through a time-consuming process that involved using a developing and fixing solution. In some cases, the images would come out under-exposed or over-exposed, which lessened their accuracy. Today however, things have dramatically improved and dentist have moved to digital means of creating dental X-Rays. Digital X-Ray sensors are placed in your mouth around the targeted area instead of traditional photographic film.

With the film or sensor in place, the X-Rays will pass through the mouth and highlight the problematic areas if any. Usually, the teeth and bones absorb more rays than the gums and soft tissues. This is why in the final X-Ray image, teeth and bones appear more clearly than soft tissues. Areas with problems such as tooth decay or infections will appear darker since they absorb little of the rays.

As the X-Ray is being taken, expect to hear a faint buzz of the machine. The process is actually much simpler than it sounds and it should be over in a few minutes. It takes about 60 seconds to produce a single X-Ray image in most dental offices in Plano, TX.

What Information Can Be Obtained Through Dental X-Rays?

There is a lot of important information that dentists can pick up from an X-Ray image. Your dentist will suggest an X-Ray to help either confirm or rule out a suspicion. This is why it is included in your routine dental visits, just to make sure all is well. Some of the things that can be seen in a dental X-Ray include:

  • Decay in between teeth that is otherwise difficult to spot with a visual exam.
  • If there are any problems with existing dental appliances such as fillings, crowns or bridges
  • To track progress made by previous dental treatments such as root canals and orthodontic procedures
  • Presence of infections such as abscesses, cysts and tumors
  • To assess the severity of traumatic injuries
  • To monitor the development of emerging teeth or impacted teeth
  • To determine if the state of your mouth allows for certain dental procedures. For instance, in the case of implants where the dentist has to check to see if you have sufficient bone

What Are the Risks Associated with Dental X-Rays?

Radiation is involved in the making of an X-Ray image. This is enough reason for you question to question its safety and necessity. There is however no need for alarm as dental radiographs expose you to very low doses of radiation. Digital dental X-Rays are particularly the safest as they reduce radiation by up to 80%. so, while the massiveness of the X-Ray machine can really intimidate you, the rays usually come out through a small cone that limits the area of exposure to about 7 centimeters.

Your dentist should also take extra precautions to keep you safe. The machine should be properly sealed and if need be, a lead bib should be used to cover any areas that do not to be exposed to the rays. Disclosing any conditions, you have to your dentist is also important in ensuring your safety during dental radiographs. As such, if you are pregnant your exposure to radiation should be limited to only when it is really necessary. This is because the radiation exposure may have effect on the unborn baby.

It is not definitive as to how frequent you should take X-Rays as it all depends with your oral health needs. Our dentists at Lutke Dental are however able to advise you accordingly based on the state of your oral health. Visit us or book your appointment today to get quality dental X-Ray near you.

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