Dental News

The Truth About Dental X-Rays: Are They Really Safe?

December 24, 2018

The Truth About Dental X-Rays: Are They Really Safe?

At California Dental Group our only goal is the excellent care of every patient we work with. As a result, we do use dental x-rays. They give us the opportunity to catch decay and other issues that are not visible to the naked eye. However, some patients understandably worry about dental x-rays and whether they are safe.

The short answer is that if dental x-rays were not safe, we would not use them. To learn more about this issue and why we believe they are safe, keep reading. If it has been more than six months since your last dental appointment, call us at (800) 407-0161 to schedule an exam and cleaning.

The amount of radiation used is much less than it once was

The reality of dental x-rays is that they have been used safely for decades. What’s more, the amount of radiation required today is significantly less than it once was. It is true that there is risk involved in any health diagnostic procedure, the benefits are much bigger than the risks in this case.

The amount of radiation you receive from a full mouth series of x-rays is about the same amount of radiation you get from natural resources on an average day. That said, we still take extra precautions to limit your exposure. This may include having you wear a lead apron and using modern, fast-cut film that reduces the amount of radiation that is used.

Dental x-rays show us many underlying issues

The truth about dental x-rays is that they give us a picture of what’s going on under the surface. Some of the issues they can show us include:

  • Abscesses
  • Cysts
  • Bone loss
  • Tumors (both cancerous and non-cancerous)
  • Decay between teeth
  • Developmental abnormalities in children
  • Poor positioning for teeth and roots
  • Issues inside a tooth
  • Issues below the gum line
  • Signs of periodontal disease

The sooner we discover these issues, the more easily we can treat them. This saves you time, money, and discomfort. It can even save your teeth when we are able to spot and treat minor issues before they become major.

Most patients only need dental x-rays once a year

We commonly have patients ask us how often they need x-rays. The answer depends on their specific oral health and past. We will look at your needs to determine how frequent you should x-rays. In most cases, we will only need to do it once a year. If you do not have major dental issues we likely do not even need a full set each year – instead we can use what’s known as bite-wing x-rays. If you do have underlying oral health issues then we may recommend getting a full set yearly or even more often.

If you decide that you do not want dental x-rays just let us know. They are optional but we do urge you to consider that they can provide us information we would otherwise not have access to.