Ben and Gary Show - Episode 38

Mar 28, 2019

How Safe Are Dental X-Rays? 

There is always a benefit / risk trade off to using x-rays for dental diagnosis. The benefits of x-rays are that they

  • show what cannot be seen, such as decay between the teeth
  • allow for an accurate diagnosis

For new patients, we like to get a full mouth series to provide a baseline for the diagnosis we make today and a benchmark for changes we see in the future. A full mouth series involves up to twenty x-rays.

Sounds like a lot! Actually, full mouth digital x-rays are about the same radiation exposure as a cross country round trip by air. We are all exposed to radiation daily. Live in a stone house, eat a banana? Yep, they radiate.

The chart below shows relative radiation from these sources. If you would like the full chart, request it in the blue Questions / Comments box - find it up and right.

Before scheduling x-rays, we do take into account a patient's radiation history. For example, cancer radiation. We also take into account bone loss from gum disease, pregnancy and overall medical and dental history.

We use digital x-rays in our practice. These have half the radiation exposure of film. They also allow for superior diagnosis. The old camera films were small requiring a lot of interpretation.

Digital films disclose more information. They can be enhanced allow us to detect problems sooner and address them with more conservative treatment. 

We invested in cone beam technology which shows a 3D picture of your mouth. We are able to plan and execute treatment with a accuracy not possible with only 2D images.

Root canal specialist use cone beam x-rays to show how many canals are in a tooth and the condition of the jaw bones. Both affect the success of the therapy.

With pregnant patients, hopefully we can delay x-rays. However, if necessary, x-rays can be done safely.


50% Complete

Thank You! We Received Your Subscription Request. 

Where Shall We Send It?

We will send blog posts to the contact information you provide. As always, you may cancel this request at any time.