The Benefits and Risks of Dental X-Rays

Dental x-rays are an important tool for diagnosing diseases that affect teeth and bones, since the inside of these structures is not visible when dentists examine the mouth. They provide important information to help plan appropriate dental treatment. However, many patients want to limit dental x-rays due to cost, discomfort, or fear of radiation. It is important to understand the benefits and risks of dental x-rays in order to make an informed decision.

Children, whose cells divide rapidly, are more sensitive than adults to radiation damage, so healthcare organizations are taking steps to reduce the dose they receive on X-rays. The motto of the Image Gently campaign, which advocates for less use of radiation by children, is “More is not usually better”. Dr. Mallya, associate professor of radiology at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Dentistry, found that “simply saying that the dose is minimal doesn't allay concerns”.

Instead, it emphasizes the diagnostic benefits of dental x-rays, which “make patients feel more comfortable”. That said, dentists should be able to justify the importance of any X-ray.Dental x-rays play a key role in oral health. They allow dentists to review their patients' oral health development and identify underlying problems related to the teeth, jaw, and soft tissues of the mouth. In addition, x-rays help the dentist provide an accurate diagnosis and determine the best course of action to treat oral health problems.

For perspective, a single digital dental x-ray has 0.1 mrem of radiation and a set of 4 bites has 0.4 mrem. While dental x-rays represent less than 3 percent of all the radiation that Americans receive through medical imaging, everything possible must be done to minimize their use.We also use dental x-rays to assess the health of the bone surrounding the tooth root, known as the alveolar bone, as well as to look for missing teeth that haven't crossed the gums. If a patient has any questions or concerns before or after an X-ray procedure, consult your dental technician if you have any questions or concerns before or after a complete x-ray, including bites and a periapical X-ray of each tooth.X-rays are a very common dental procedure that allows the dentist to see the depths of the gums, including bones, tooth roots, and tooth enamel. Many dental problems are invisible to the naked eye, and x-rays allow the dentist to discover a variety of problems with tooth enamel, gums, and tooth roots.

The number of dental x-rays your child needs depends on general oral health, risk of disease, and age.Digital x-rays reduce exposure to radiation compared with traditional film x-rays making them even safer. While dental x-rays expose you to certain radiation, the benefits of doing them outweigh the risks. The ADA notes that dental x-rays represent approximately 2.5% of the effective radiation dose received from all medical radiographs and fluoroscopies (medical X-ray imaging procedures). To put dental x-rays into perspective, let's compare them with other sources of environmental radiation.In conclusion, it is important to understand both the benefits and risks associated with dental x-rays in order to make an informed decision about whether or not they are necessary for your oral health needs.

While digital x-rays reduce exposure to radiation compared with traditional film x-rays making them even safer, it is still important for dentists to justify why they are necessary for each patient.

Madison Bew
Madison Bew

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