If you are going to keep your dental health on the right track, you can’t exactly avoid x-rays. Some patients may be concerned about the risks involved in exposure to radiation. It can be good to be cautious and check the facts before setting your next appointment. Have a discussion with your dental provider and find out the risks involved before refusing necessary dental information.
How Important Are X-Rays?
When you go to your dental visit, whether it’s a 6-month check-up or an emergency situation, x-rays can paint a picture of what is really going on beneath the surface. There are injuries or signs of an oral issue that just cannot be seen without taking an x-ray, including:
- Tooth Abnormalities
- Impacted Teeth
- Tumors, cysts, or symptoms of cancer
- Tooth decay, cavities under filling or between teeth
- Injury to the jawbone
- Oral infections or the development of periodontal disease under your gums
- A change in hard and soft tissues
What Are The Risks?
Radiation is a cause of concern, but the amount that you are exposed to is minimal. During the bitewing imaging procedure, your exposure is far less than the amount that you are exposed to naturally every year.
Thankfully, technology has developed digital x-rays to further reduce your risk. If you are unsure of the typical x-ray, then you may want to find a dentist who uses this newer method.
Rest Assured with the ALARA Principle
Your dentist understands if you’re nervous to use x-rays and they want you to feel safe within their practice. That is why dentists share the ALARA principle (As Low As Reasonably Achievable) to provide patients with a promise to use practices that protect against radiation exposure. Techniques used include:
- Use the fastest speed setting
- Keep the size of the x-ray beam to a minimum
- Cover patient with a leaded apron
- Follow all standard protocols when it comes to radiation processes and exposure
Ultimately, X-rays are integral to your dental care with their accuracy and detailed account. Based on your dental history, how recent you had x-rays, and your current dental picture of health – this will determine whether the x-rays are necessary now or at some point in the future.