The guidelines for dental x-rays vary depending on age and risk of tooth decay. For children who are not at high risk, x-rays should be taken once every one to two years; teens who are not at high risk should have them every one and a half to three years; and adults who are not at high risk should have them done every two to three years. Although there is no completely safe level of radiation exposure, it is important to remember that radiation accumulates over time. Children are particularly vulnerable due to their small size and rapidly dividing cells.
Generally speaking, it is best to only have dental x-rays when absolutely necessary for developing a treatment plan. Dental insurance typically does not recommend having more than 18 mouth x-rays in a three year period, and the dental health department agrees with this recommendation. Studies have shown a correlation between dental diagnostic x-rays and thyroid cancer in four out of five cases. If you find yourself needing multiple x-rays in a short period of time, it is important to remember that you have the right to have your x-rays taken anywhere you want or to have them emailed to your new dentist.
It is also important to consider the potential health risks associated with repeated exposure to dental x-rays, such as head and neck tumors and various systemic problems. In order to minimize the risks associated with dental x-rays, it is important to ensure that your dentist is competent and knowledgeable about the latest safety protocols. If you are concerned about the number of x-rays you have had, it is best to speak with your dentist about your concerns and ask for an alternative solution. Ultimately, it is important to remember that dental x-rays can be an invaluable tool for diagnosing and treating various dental problems, but they should only be used when absolutely necessary.