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Dental X-Rays: Are They Safe?

Recent statistics from the CDC reveal that by the time kids reach the age of eight, 52% of them will have a cavity in their primary teeth, or baby teeth. Further, every year, children lose an average of 34 million school hours because of emergency, or unplanned, dental care.

A key part of keeping kids healthy is having them see a dentist regularly. However, unfortunately, many parents fear dental x rays. They worry they may be unsafe for their kids. To put this concern to rest, and relieve a heavy burden on you, this article will explain why dental x rays are safer than you realize, and why you should ensure that your kids see a local dentist routinely.

Are Dental X Rays Safe?

First, dental x-rays are a very common part of diagnostic dental procedures. It is safe, yes. When your dentist performs dental x-rays properly and with safety precautions, you should not worry.

Dental technology is making it even safer with digital dental x-rays. That’s because they have tiny doses of radiation. Compared to other imaging procedures, this is a fraction of exposure. Routine dental x-rays using four bitewing x-rays will expose you and your family to about the same radiation you get from a one to two-hour trip on an airplane.

If you are thinking just of avoiding dental x-rays anyway, particularly for your kids, it is important to understand why your dentist needs dental x-rays, to begin with.

Who Needs Dental X Rays?

Some issues with your teeth are invisible to the naked eye, so your dentist should take dental x-rays. You can request that your dentist examine your teeth by sight before a dental x-ray, but without the x-ray, they cannot identify certain issues.

Here are some dental issues that your dentist can better identify through dental x-rays:

  • Abscesses (infections either between the tooth and gum or at the root of the tooth)
  • Areas of decay that can occur under a filling or between teeth
  • Changes in the root canal
  • Bone loss that can happen with gum disease
  • Tumors

Teeth problems like these can go undiagnosed without an x-ray. Your dentist needs information to properly treat you, especially with dental procedures like braces, dentures, tooth implants, and more.

Children and Dental X Rays

Children have more sensitivity to radiation, so it is natural to want to take extra precautions for your kids. However, again, because the amount of radiation is so low, dental x-rays are still safe for kids.

The teeth and jaws of children constantly change as they are developing. Your dentist must watch their development with routine wellness visits.

Why do dental x-rays help kids? Your dentist can identify things like:

  • Identify gum disease and decay early
  • Monitoring wisdom teeth development
  • Make sure their mouth is the right size to accommodate their teeth
  • Check that their primary teeth are loosening as they should and accommodate their new permanent teeth

Your child’s individual needs will determine how often your kids need dental x-rays by your dentist.

Safety Precautions

A dentist can minimize radiation exposure from dental x-rays if you request them to. Your dentist could take one image versus several, lowering exposure.

Your dentist will use the lowest radiation setting too, especially if they are examining your children. Leaded coverings are used and protect parts of your or your kids’ body from radiation.

Other Considerations

Last, dental x-rays should be taken only when necessary, and on the recommendation and guidance of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.

Some factors your dentist will consider include:

  • Potential symptoms present
  • Age
  • History of oral health
  • Stage of dental development
  • Other risk factors

A careful clinical evaluation on a regular preventative schedule could reduce the need for dental x-rays.

A Dentist Who Specializes in Kids of All Ages

Duffy Dental Ranch is a pediatric practice, so we only see patients who are children. This means that your child will get the dental care they need, tailored to their age, and with the best dental technology. We understand your concerns over dental x rays. Rest assured that we take the right precautionary measures to ensure your child's safety.

Your child will love it at Duffy Dental Ranch, and so will you! Contact us now to schedule an appointment.