Dental X-rays – Are They Safe?

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Broomfield dental careAt your first visit with Broomfield Dental Care you will more than likely have some x-rays of your teeth. This is important because it gives a detail look at your oral care, and your dentist will be able to diagnose any issues that may be occurring in your mouth.

Why Does A Dentist Use X-Rays?

X-rays are used for a variety of reasons when it comes to dental work. It can help your dentists detect damage, disease or cavities. Typically, x-rays are a part of a routine dental visit. However, rather or not an x-ray should be taken will depend on an individual’s oral health, age, risk for disease, and signs of oral disease.

Since everyone is different, an x-ray will highly depend on the circumstances involved. If your dentist detects a new cavity then they may want an x-ray to check the status of your gum health. There are standards within the Radiology field recommending as little exposure to radiation as possible. The following guidelines are followed by dentists to ensure an x-ray is justified:

  • Ensure there is a reason to expose a patient to x-ray exposure
  • Keep exposure to as low as reasonably achievable, also known as ALARA
  • The dose of radiation that a patient and technician receive is kept below the allowable limits.

Children Verses Adults

Children may require more x-rays as their teeth and jaws are still developing. However, a dentist will want to ensure x-rays are only taken when absolutely necessary. Children are more prone to tooth decay, and an x-ray will show them the extent of the cavity.

How Safe Are X-rays?

Overall, x-rays that your dentist take are safe. They use very low levels of radiation exposure. Therefore, the potential risk is very small. Dentist practice under standards which allows them to utilize tools and techniques that are designed to keep radiation exposure at a bare minimum.

All precautions are taken to ensure radiation complies to the ALARA principle. During the x-ray, a led apron will be placed to help deter exposure to the abdomen. A led thyroid collar can also be used to help protect the thyroid from radiation. It should be used whenever possible. Especially in women who can become pregnant.

Pregnancy and X-rays

Before every x-ray, all women should be asked by the technician rather or not they are pregnant or at risk of being pregnant. It will be very important that you are honest about this answer, as they will need to know how to protect you and your baby. In the event that it is necessary that you have a dental x-ray and you are pregnant; the tech will ensure you have a led apron and a thyroid collar.

How Often Are Dental X-rays Needed?

You do not have to have a dental x-ray each year, but it will be an important part of your Broomfield dental care program, so you will probably need to have one every two to three years. This will highly depend on the personal care your teeth require.

To help cut down on the dental x-rays that you will need, follow these guidelines:

  • Ensure you are maintaining good oral care. Brush and floss your teeth routinely and go to all dental appointments.
  • When you do change dentists, take your x-rays with you.
  • Be upfront with your dentist and express your concerns about radiation exposure.

Taking the time to understand why your dentist needs x-rays can help you in the long run. It will be an important part of your Broomfield dental care, but it will not necessarily need to be done each year.