Is It Safe to Get Dental X-Rays?

November 1, 2021

Dental x-rays are a normal part of a dental checkup, and they can help us spot conditions like cavities, root damage, and more that can easily go unnoticed. While x-rays are considered safe by the medical community, some of our patients have expressed concerns about getting them done. At American Dental, we want to encourage an open dialogue about the tools and techniques we use in our practice so we can put your fears at ease and provide safe, effective treatment. Here is more information about the x-ray equipment we use to diagnose and treat oral health conditions:

How do X-Rays Work?

When you get an x-ray, a film is placed behind the area to be x-rayed. Next, the subject is bombarded with high-frequency radiation. That radiation passes through different tissues, like skin, muscle, and bone, for example, at different rates. After passing through these tissues, that radiation exposes the film behind them, creating an image of the inside of your body.

How Much Radiation is Used in an X-Ray?

Being exposed to radiation may sound scary, but the amount of radiation used in an x-ray is not harmful at all. We are being bombarded constantly by radiation from the sun and other sources, referred to as background radiation, with little to no harmful effect. One dental x-ray is equivalent to about 1 day of background radiation exposure, so a person could hypothetically receive tens of thousands of dental x-rays during their lifetime and suffer no complications. The American Dental Association recommends getting x-rays every 2-3 years unless you have serious oral health issues, so your lifetime radiation exposure from them will be well below anything that could be considered dangerous.

Are X-Rays Safe?

As we mentioned previously, the amount of radiation exposure you receive from a dental x-ray is minuscule. If you’re worried about getting an x-ray during your next checkup, don’t be. It’s very safe and it can help diagnose and treat a range of conditions that can improve your oral health and prolong your life. 

That being said, some patients should avoid getting x-rays or receive them as little as possible. Pregnant women should avoid x-rays altogether. If you think you may be pregnant, you should discuss it with your dentist before getting any x-rays. Children are another group who should avoid getting x-rays as much as possible. Your dentist may recommend some x-rays for children, especially if they have active tooth decay or other problems, but generally, any medical professional will administer as few x-rays as possible to people under the age of 18.

Finding a Dentist You Trust

If you’re still concerned about dental x-rays, the best thing to do is discuss it with your local dentist in Lincoln Park, IL. Our dental professionals like the ones at American Dental’s seven Chicagoland locations. Our team will be happy to reassure you about the safety of dental x-rays and provide any treatment you need. Get in touch with us for a dental cleaning in Chicago or anywhere nearby. Just call (773) 897-3218 or click the “Make an Appointment” button to schedule your consultation today!

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