How Safe Are the Dental X-Rays

When you go for the dental visit, your dentist may run x-rays tests each time. The reason is that x-ray tests provide dentists with a clear picture of the internal structure of teeth. This picture helps in analyzing the problem in better way. However, you may also know that x-ray tests involve exposure of patient against radiation. So, you may wonder if this process is safer.

There are a few questions which may arise in your mind in this regard.

The need for dental x-rays

You may tend to think if it is absolutely important for you to under dental x-ray test. Your dentist needs to see the structure of your teeth, soft tissues and other hidden surfaces. For this purpose, he/she may decide to run x-ray test. Certain oral and overall health conditions such as cavities, gum disease, oral cancer, and presence of tumors can be identified with the help of dental x-rays.

Different types of x-rays used in the dental offices

There are different types of dental x-rays which serve different purposes. The most common ones are mentioned as under.

  • The first type of x-rays involve bitewing x-rays. These x-rays help in identifying any problem with the back teeth.
  • When you are required to get the x-ray test done on only one tooth, Periapical is the type of x-ray tests you need to get. This x-ray draws picture of an entire tooth from root to the top.
  • Extraoral x-ray test is another type of x-rays that is done while keeping the x-ray beam throwing device out of the mouth. These x-rays are done in order to identify issues such as TMJ disorder.
  • Another type of x-rays is the panoramic x-ray test. This test is run to draw wide picture of both, upper and lower, jaws.
  • Another type is that of digital radiographs. In this system, the x-ray film is replaced by a flat electronic pad which also serves as a sensor. This sensor sends image signals to the computer screen attached with the system.

Although dental x-ray systems are considered very safe due to tiny amount of radiation they deal with, dentist follow complete precautionary measures to ensure best safety for the patients.

The amount of radiation during x-rays

With dental x-rays, the amount of radiation a patient gets exposed to if tinier than you may think. A routine exam which includes four bitewings deals with 0.005 mSv. This is the amount of radiation which a person gets exposed against in a short flight of two hours.

Dental x-rays for pregnant women

The huge point of concern, when we talk about x-rays, is the risk for pregnant women, especially the fetus. While dentists do not frequently recommend dental x-rays for pregnant women, the dental x-rays are not harmful for any part of the body because it focuses just on teeth.


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