X-rays play an important part in all parts of the medical field, including dentistry. They let your dentist take a look at what is going on beneath the surface so it’s easier to spot problems before they develop into something major. But do you really need dental x-rays to maintain good oral health, and are there any risks involved with x-rays? Your dentist in Dublin is here to explain what you should know about this diagnostic tool.
How Do Dental X-Rays Work?
When it’s time to get a dental x-ray, you’ll wear a lead apron. This is to protect you against any stray radiation. Of course, the radiation levels are so low to begin with, and the x-ray machine is so focused, that you really don’t need to be concerned that the x-ray will harm you.
Many dentists use digital x-ray machines these days, which makes for a quick and easy process. The x-ray beam passes through your skin and soft tissues, and then your bones absorb it. The machine produces an image that lets your dentist get a good idea of how your teeth are doing beneath the surface.
How Often Do You Need a Dental X-Ray?
You won’t get an x-ray every time you visit your dentist. Most dentists try not to take x-rays unless it’s necessary because they don’t want to expose you to even small amounts of radiation without a good reason. You might need an x-ray in the following situations:
- You just switched to a new dentist, who includes an x-ray as part of the initial examination.
- You’re a child, and your dentist wants to make sure that your teeth are developing normally.
- You’re in pain, and a surface examination isn’t sufficient to reveal the reason why.
- You were injured, and your dentist wants to find out the extent of the injury.
- You haven’t had your wisdom teeth removed, and your dentist wants to check to make sure they aren’t doing anything that might harm the rest of your smile.
Are Dental X-Rays Really Safe?
We mentioned earlier that dental x-rays expose you to minimal amounts of radiation, but you might still wonder if they’re really safe. It’s true that radiation is cumulative; the more you’re exposed to throughout your lifetime, the higher the risk that you’ll develop problems because of it. Therefore, while you shouldn’t be afraid of dental x-rays, you shouldn’t get them taken all the time either.
It’s also worth noting that even if you’re pregnant, you can still get a dental x-ray. The radiation level is so minimal that there is no reason to worry that harm will come to a developing embryo or fetus.
Dental x-rays are an invaluable diagnostic tool, so don’t hesitate to get them taken the next time your dentist recommends them. Your smile will thank you!
About the Author
Dr. Eric Buck grew up in Ohio and loves to serve his local community in Dublin. He uses dental x-rays and other tools to help his patients achieve and maintain fantastic oral health. If it’s time for your next checkup, or you have questions about how to have a sound smile, contact our office at 614-792-1800.