Are Dental X-rays Safe?
X-rays are commonly used by dentists to see beneath your gums and into your bones. However, x-rays use radiation to create their pictures which can cause anxiety in some people. Radiation can have potentially harmful effects and you can find lots of information online about the dangers of radiation. But are dental x-rays really dangerous? Join us at Lifetime Dental & Implant Center in Katy, TX as we dive into the information about x-rays and radiation.
How safe are dental x-rays?
In short, dental x-rays are considered to be very safe. When performed properly, dental x-rays give off extremely low levels of radiation. Additionally, over the years there have been many improvements to x-ray technology that continue to improve the safety of the procedure.
Just how little radiation do you get exposed to with dental x-rays? A set of 4 bitewing x-rays will expose you to 0.4mrem of radiation. Compare that to the amount of radiation you are exposed to from a variety of things you do in your daily life – drinking water exposes you to 5mrem per year and using natural gas for heating/cooking exposes you to 9mrem per year. You are even exposed to 35mrem of natural radiation from the soil every year.
We also take additional safety precautions to minimize your exposure to radiation during the x-ray. We will have you wear a lead apron to protect most of your body. We also have a leaded thyroid collar that protects the thyroid, which is more sensitive to radiation. If you are pregnant, please let your dentist know so they can take extra precautions or they may decide against taking x-rays at that time to protect you and your fetus.
What are the benefits of dental x-rays?
Dental x-rays are very useful and help us diagnose a number of oral health problems that can cause patients pain and discomfort. Letting these issues go unchecked can cause far worse problems than the small amount of radiation received from the x-ray. The problems that we can identify include:
- Tooth decay occurring between the teeth
- Bone loss
- Tumors or other growths
- Changes in a root canal
- Infections between the teeth and gums
If these problems are not promptly addressed, they can lead to serious long-term issues for your oral health.
Overall, the benefits of having x-rays taken vastly outweigh the risks associated with being exposed to such a small amount of radiation. If you have more questions or concerns about dental x-rays, call our Katy, TX dental office at 832-762-3644 and we will be happy to give you more information.