Are Dental X-Rays Safe?

Dental x-rays are often used by dentists as a diagnostic tool, and they’re considered very safe for patients. Most dentists today use digital x-rays, which only have low doses of radiation, ensuring you’re only exposed to a fraction of the radiation you’re exposed to when you have other types of imaging done. If you’re worried about the safety of dental x-rays, it’s a good idea to learn more about what they involve, why dental x-rays are done, and the best way to handle them. As long as dental x-rays are performed properly and with the right safety precautions in place, you have little need to be worried.

Do You Need Dental X-Rays

Dental x-rays are a diagnostic tool that dentists use to get a closer look at dental issues that may be invisible to the naked eye. Adults undergo dental x-rays to allow dentists to better find and treat a variety of oral health issues. With the help of x-rays, a dentist will be able to see:

Any bone loss that’s occurred due to gum disease

  • Areas of tooth decay, including places under fillings or between your teeth
  • Oral tumors
  • Any changes that have happened to a root canal
  • Infections that occur at the root of your tooth or between the gum and the tooth known as abscesses

For patients that don’t have x-rays, these oral health problems can continue to go undiagnosed. When dentists have x-rays for reference, they also are better able to prepare braces, tooth implants, dentures, and many other dental treatments.

Children and Dental X-Rays

It’s common for parents to express concern about their children having dental x-rays. It’s true that children are a lot more sensitive to radiation, although the small amount of radiation they’re exposed to with a dental x-ray is still thought to be very safe for children. The teeth and jaws of a child are always changing, and it’s important for dentists to keep an eye on oral development. Dental x-rays are performed on children for several different reasons, including:

  • Identifying gum disease and tooth decay early
  • Ensuring the mouth is large enough to have room for teeth that are coming in
  • Determining whether the baby teeth are loosening correctly to make room for the new permanent teeth
  • Monitoring the mouth for developing wisdom teeth

Children need to visit their dentist regularly and it’s important for them to have routine dental x-rays. The schedule for their x-rays will depend on the child’s specific dental needs.

Pregnancy and Dental X-Rays

Although the radiation that comes with digital dental x-rays is very small, it’s usually recommended that pregnant women avoid having dental x-rays. It’s the best idea to avoid exposing a developing fetus to any radiation. If you are pregnant or you think you might be pregnant, it’s essential for you to speak up and let your dentist know.

There are a few cases when a dentist may recommend that you go ahead and have the dental x-rays while pregnant. If you are already involved in a treatment plan or you end up dealing with a dental emergency, you could need x-rays. It’s a good idea to talk to your dentist to decide on the right way to proceed. Since having periodontal disease puts you and your baby at a higher risk, it’s important to make sure you keep your oral health in great shape during pregnancy.

Safety Precautions to Keep Dental X-Rays Safer

The good news is that many things can be done to ensure you’re exposed to as little radiation as possible when you have dental x-rays done. You can ask your dentist to go with the lowest radiation setting available, especially for your child. Going with one image instead of taking multiple images can also reduce radiation exposure. Lead coverings can be used to protect specific parts of the body from the radiation.

Deciding if Dental X-Rays are Really Necessary

To make sure you minimize exposure to radiation, it’s a good idea to ensure dental x-rays are only done when they are necessary. While there’s no schedule for x-rays, when x-rays become necessary will depend on a variety of different factors, including:

  • Your oral health history
  • Age
  • Any symptoms you have
  • Your stage of dental development
  • Risk factors for any oral health conditions

Overall, dental x-rays are very safe, although you should only have them done when they are needed. Talk to your dentist about dental x-rays and discuss when they make sense for your oral health needs.

Hancock Village Dental

2560 E, State Rte 50

Suite 103

Clermont, FL 34711


Excellent staff. I have been to a lot of dentists over my years, but this staff was the best ever. Very Impressed. The hygenist taught me a lot about my teeth that I never knew. The office was extremely clean and used modern technology. I was seen in a very timely manner and didn't have to wait at all. I highly recommend going to this practice!

Laura Stein | Florida

Very friendly and made the visit extremely comfortable for my children! They can't wait to go back.

Jennifer Gomez | Florida

For a child to say he is so excited to see the dentist is a GO for me as a mom. The atmosphere is just awesome and so friendly. The staff is phenomenal and family oriented. This is where you should be for your dental needs.

Sylvia Rivera | Florida

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