Understanding Dental X-ray Safety

Many people often wonder how safe dental x-rays are. This is a common concern, especially since radiation really can cause harm to you. It may feel like it cannot be good for you to receive a shot of radiation every time an x-ray is taken, but doctors and scientists carefully figured out how to take x-rays safely. This guide will go over everything you need to know about x-ray safety.

General Overview

The first thing you should understand about radiation is that it is everywhere. When you use your microwave, talk on your phone, or even go outside, you are bombarded by radiation. You do not need to worry about being exposed to radiation. Rather, it is only excessive radiation that can cause any harm.

So how much radiation is in a dental x-ray? It is actually quite a small amount. If it was enough to cause health problems, people would have stopped taking x-rays long ago when the damage was revealed. A dental x-ray exposes you to about the same amount of radiation as spending a couple hours on an airplane.

Actual Risk

There is only one situation where you should not receive a dental x-ray. Unborn fetuses are more sensitive to radiation than adults or children. If you are pregnant, you should tell your dentist. In some extreme cases, the small risk posed to the child may be worth it to protect the mother. Dental issues can have far-reaching health consequences, and sometimes a dental x-ray is necessary to treat them. In these cases, there are several things your dentist can do to minimize the exposure to radiation, including:

  • Using the fewest number of x-rays possible.
  • Using the lowest setting of the x-ray machine.
  • Using lead covering for protection. This will be done by every dentist. 
  • Angling the x-ray to avoid sensitive parts of the body. This is also done all the time.

It is also important to note that the radiation from an x-ray is not dangerous to children either. The only situation where it can actually cause real harm is to women who are pregnant.

The field of dentistry has come a long way. Dental professionals have developed an incredibly safe and reliable way to take x-rays without doing any harm. Have faith in your dentist, but you should also feel comfortable having a discussion with your dental professional about x-rays if they make you uncomfortable. Your dentist, like a Cary, NC dentist, should be able to reassure you about the x-rays taken and the methods used.

Thanks to Alliance Dentistry for their insight into better understanding dental x-rays.