Conducting dental X-rays is often a normal routine that enables your dentist to see deep beneath your gums, into your bones, and to the root of your teeth. But due to some misconceptions from Hollywood blockbusters like Godzilla, people now wonder if X-rays are safe since it uses radiation.
The short answer is – yes, dental X-rays are safe and imperative for your oral health. The amount of radiation you’re exposed to is minimal and unable to cause any harm both in the short or long term.
If you think about it, multiple sources expose you to high radiation in your daily life in a year, compared to a dental x-ray. Only in special circumstances are radiation not recommended, and we’ll ensure you understand the implications, and who might not require a dental x-ray.
How much radiation is in an x-ray?
Over the years, as technology and knowledge advances, the amount of radiation used for dental x-rays has drastically reduced, compared to other environmental sources. To put it in perceptive, a single digital dental x-ray has 0.1mrem of radiation, and a set of 4 bitewings has 0.4mrem.
Compare them to other environmental sources of radiation and your jaws are likely to drop. For instance, natural radiation from the soil is over 35mrem per year, while smoking cigarettes exposes one to over 1,300mrem per year.
Drinking water also exposes you to 5mrem per year, and using natural gas for either heating or cooking exposes you to 9mrem per year. Compared to a dental x-ray, it’s obvious there is no risk involved except in special cases. With the aid of an x-ray, your dentist can see aspects of your dental makeup that are invisible to the eye.
Do you need a dental x-ray?
For your dentist to properly diagnose you, they might need to know the structure of your mouth to know the ideal treatment route to pursue. Hence, the need to conduct an x-ray. There are lots of problems to be uncovered with an X-ray, such as:
- Decay between the teeth
- Bone loss
- Tumors or growth
- Changes in a root canal
- Infections between the tooth and gums
These kinds of issues can progress unnoticed without the aid of an x-ray. The good part is that it is simple, less painful, and affordable.
When not to get an X-ray
If you’re pregnant, it is not advisable to undergo an x-ray until after birth. The reason is to protect your baby since they are more susceptible to radiation problems compared to grown adults. The same is true for children – although it is an arguable one since there is no such thing as complete exposure. Instead, radiation accumulates over a lifetime.
To be on the safe side, work with a reliable dentist with considerable experience working with x-rays. Go ahead and give us a call, or fill our contact form to begin.