Ask a California Dentist: Are Dental X-Rays Really Safe?
Dental x-rays are an important part of diagnosing your oral health issues. When we get x-rays as part of your exam, we get valuable info that we wouldn’t get otherwise. We can then use this info to find hidden dental issues and to treat them before they become serious and before they become painful. If we didn’t have x-rays, then many of the most typical dental problems wouldn’t be detected until they had progressed.
What exactly can dental x-rays tell us?
At California Dental Group, we understand that getting dental x-rays can be scary. We find that our patients are sometimes relieved to understand exactly what these x-rays can tell us. One of the most common things we’ll see on an x-ray is a cyst or an abscess. Many people think of these issues being very painful, but the truth is that they’re generally only painful after they’ve advanced. If we catch them early, we can treat them with minimal pain – if any.
Other things that we can learn by looking at your dental x-rays include:
- Bone loss.
- Decay that’s between your teeth and not accessible via a regular dental exam.
- Bad teeth or root positions.
- Cancerous tumors.
- Non-cancerous tumors.
- Abnormal development.
- Issues inside your teeth.
- Issues below your gum line.
The earlier we can find the issues, the easier it will be to treat them. Not only can it save you discomfort, but it can save you money, time, and even save you from losing your teeth.
The safety of dental x-rays
Now that you understand how important dental x-rays are, let’s consider whether or not they are safe. It’s true that they product radiation, but the levels are so low that it’s deemed safe. As an example, consider that the amount of radiation exposure you experience in a series of x-rays for your entire mouth is about what you’d receive in a typical day from natural sources.
That said, we do take steps to limit your exposure as much as possible. Generally this includes laying a lead apron shield on you and using the most modern x-ray options that reduce the amount of time you’re exposed.
Are you due for x-rays?
The frequency with which each patient should get dental x-rays will vary based on a number of factors. Most people don’t need them every visit. We will take a look at your medical and dental history, any signs and symptoms you have of issues, your age, and other factors to decide whether or not you need x-rays.
Generally, we recommend a full-mouth set of x-rays when we’re seeing a new patient and then typically don’t need them again for three to five years. Though, of course, for our patients with high risk issues, we may request them more often. To learn more about your oral health and how we can help, call California Dental Group at (800) 407-0161 right away.