The Safety and Effectiveness of Dental X-Rays

Preventive Care Dentistry

Health-conscious people know how important it is to visit a dentist regularly. Proper care of teeth, gums, and mouth can contribute significantly to a person’s overall wellness. Dental professionals can spot moderate and serious issues and provide treatment to slow or stop the growth of bacteria or decay. They can also implement corrective measures to get your mouth looking and feeling great again. One of the most common tools dentists use to catch issues are x-rays. People continue to debate whether these are necessary and even safe for patients. Fortunately, dental professionals and experts agree that getting dental x-rays is important for your visits and also pose little risk.

What They Detect

When you visit the dentist every six months or so, the hygienist and dentist will thoroughly examine your mouth, teeth, and gums. This hands-on evaluation will often identify concerns such as plaque, tartar, gingivitis and other undesirable conditions. In severe cases, your dentist and his or her staff can detect cavities by using probing tools or even simply by looking with the naked eye. However, These basic methods will miss problem areas. This is where x-rays come in. When you’re in the chair, x-rays of the mouth can spot some of the following that the dentist wouldn’t otherwise see:

  • bone loss
  • changes in the bone or in the root canal
  • decay underneath a filling
  • decay not seen in an oral exam
  • infection at the root of the tooth or between the gum and tooth

Frequency

Dentists recommend semiannual visits for wellness checkups. You will visit more often if you the dentist finds significant problems in prior visits. On your regular visits every six months, most dental professionals will administer x-rays. However, in some case, if you have a history of excellent oral health, the dentist may elect to forgo the x-rays on some visits and only take them once a year or less.

Safety

It is true that x-rays emit radiation, just like any other type of x-ray you would receive on your body. Take comfort to know that dental x-rays have an extremely low level of radiation, especially in the case of digital x-rays. Your dentist will take every precaution possible to lower your risk to exposure. Pregnant women may have concerns about getting x-rays, and some dentists will postpone these until after the woman gives birth. However, the American Dental Association says that with proper shielding, x-rays should be safe. Talk to your dentist if you have concerns.

On your next visit to the dentist, feel comfortable that the x-ray process will be safe and effective. If you’re ever not comfortable with any dental procedure, discuss these feelings with the dentist and his or her staff.

Resources:

Wikipedia, Dental Care

Alliance Dentistry, Preventive Care Dentistry Morrisville

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