X-rays used for dental treatment are generally considered very safe. Digital X-rays have an even lower amount of radiation compared to other imaging procedures. To give you a general idea, a routine scan of your teeth exposes you to the same amount of radiation you would experience on a short airline flight. Visiting the dentist can be scary, Weston Dental Office understands your concern so to help you feel more comfortable we have put together an information package that tells you a bit more about dental X-rays.
Who May Need A Dental X-ray?
Dentists use X-rays to look deeper into the oral cavity to discover issues that are not visible to the naked eye. Your dentist will be able to see through your teeth into the roots and bones of the jaw to help treat you properly. Adults take X-rays to help dentist view and treat ailments such as:
- Bone Loss
- Root Canal Changes
- Tumors or Lesions
- Tooth Abscesses
- Tooth Decay
In many cases, these ailments are left untreated if they are not diagnosed with the help of an X-ray. The dentist is able to use these dental scans to better fit patients with braces, implants dentures and fillings.
Pediatric Dental X-rays
Everyone wants what’s best for their children, so as a parent you can rest easy knowing that although children have a lower tolerance for radiation exposure, the amount used for a dental scan is still well within the safe ranges. These scans, when performed on children, are able to help dentist view and treat things such as:
- Wisdom Teeth Development
- Gum Disease
- Tooth Decay
- Teeth Spacing
Make sure to bring your child in for regular dental visits to ensure that their teeth are growing in properly and to catch any tooth decay before it reaches a critical stage.
Dental X-rays While Pregnant
Any amount of radiation is not advised during pregnancy, so if you are expecting, make sure to inform your dentist at the start of your exam. If you happen to face a dental emergency that requires urgent treatment, you will need to speak with your dentist in regards to the risks and benefits of performing an X-ray. If a scan is deemed essential, your dentist may use a leaded apron or a thyroid collar to help limit the effects of radiation on your fetus.
Staying Safe during X-rays
Your dentist can minimize your radiation exposure in various ways. Taking a single X-ray offers less exposure than taking several, you can also request the dentist to use a lower setting. Your dentist will cover you with a lead apron prior to taking X-rays.
Do I Need An X-ray?
You should limit any and all exposure to radiation if possible, so you should only take X-rays when they are actually needed. Your dentist will know when it is best, and in most cases will consider the following when choosing whether or not an X-ray is needed:
- Patient Age
- Dental Development
- Oral Health History
- Risk Factors
- Symptoms Present Currently
A proper examination reduces the need for X-rays by more than 50%, so feel free to ask your dentist for a visual exam prior to an X-ray if one has not been performed. Patients that have changed oral health providers but have recent X-rays can also transfer their files to their new doctor to limit the need for new scans.
X-rays are generally safe, but Weston Dental Office is always here if you need more information, have questions, or want to schedule a dental exam. You can always reach a knowledgeable oral health professional at (416) 247-1928 during regular business hours.