October 2016 articles

Take the Scare Out of Dental X-Rays

article3Dentists typically use X-rays to take a closer look at teeth and bones, allowing them to better investigate dental issues not evident to the naked eye.1 X-rays use radiation to capture those images, and you’ve probably heard that radiation can be harmful to your health – but you don’t have to be spooked.

Not only is the amount of radiation used to take X-rays relatively low; dentists employ several safeguards to protect patients from unnecessary exposure. Before an X-ray, your hygienist will give you a lead collar and apron to wear.2 This blocks radiation from contact with other parts of your body. Your dental office should be using X-ray equipment with high-speed film, which creates the image more quickly, further reducing radiation exposure.2 Your dentist could also be using digital X-ray technology, which requires as little as 10 to 20 percent of the radiation needed to create traditional film X-rays.3

X-ray schedules are customized to fit individual needs. Avoiding X-rays could result in an inaccurate diagnosis or incomplete treatment due to lack of knowledge about the problem. Your dentist should examine your mouth first and only order those images that are essential for making a proper diagnosis.

It’s a good idea to ask for a copy of your X-rays if you decide to change dentists or need to see a specialist. Having current X-rays available will prevent duplication of existing films and cut down on your exposure to radiation.

If you have any concerns about X-rays or radiation, be sure to discuss them with your dentist. For more information, visit the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) website for the FDA/American Dental Association guidelines.4

1 https://www.deltadentalins.com/oral_health/xrays.html
2 http://oralhealth.deltadental.com/Search/22,HD15
3Delta Dental, Dental X-Ray Safety
4http://www.fda.gov/Radiation-EmittingProducts/RadiationEmitting
ProductsandProcedures/MedicalImaging/MedicalX-Rays/ucm116504.htm


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