Dental Care, General Dentistry, Santa Cruz Dentist

Are Dental X-Rays Safe? Your Santa Cruz Cosmetic Dentist

Are you worried about getting dental x-rays?  Is the fear of radiation keeping you from getting the x-rays that your dentist has recommended? Worry no more- all of your burning questions about the safety and uses of dental x-rays are answered!  Before scheduling your next visit to your Santa Cruz Cosmetic dentist, take a few minutes to find out more about the benefits and importance of dental x-rays.

Are dental x-rays safe?radiation_usage2

The question on everyone’s mind has to do with the safety of x-rays.  Radiation is a great concern for many and x-rays do indeed expose you to some radiation.  However, the amount of radiation that a patient is actually exposed to is only between 5.0 and 0.01 millisieverts, which is roughly the amount of radiation you are naturally exposed to every one to two days.  Each day, you encounter several sources of small amounts of radiation, including cell phones, television, and airplanes, and dental x-rays should cause you no more worry than those sources of radiation. All in all, the amount of radiation that you receive from the x-ray process is negligible and poses very little risk to you from your Santa Cruz Cosmetic Dentist.

Why are x-rays important?

X-rays provide your dentist with very important information that is necessary in providing you with the best care.  Dentists can detect problems like cavities and impacted teeth by looking at x-rays.  X-rays can also help your dentist to monitor tooth development, as well as changes in jaw and bone structure.  X-rays help dentists find and treat oral health problems early, often before patients feel a toothache or any pain, which can keep minor dental problems from growing into bigger issues.

What kinds of x-rays are used by dentists?

The most common type of x-ray used in dental offices is bitewing x-rays.  Bitewings can help a dentist catch cavities and other potential problems. They also give you a good look at the structure of the roots and bones in your jaw.  Extraoral x-rays are also frequently used by dentists.  These x-rays are beneficial in that they can help in monitoring your jaw and temporomandibular joint and can help your dentist to identify impacted teeth.

How often do I need dental x-rays?

While dental x-rays are highly important, they may not be necessary at every Santa Cruz Cosmetic dentist visit.  Your age and dental history can help determine the frequency of which x-rays might be recommended.  Children often need x-rays more frequently than adults because their mouths are growing and their teeth are smaller, which means decay can get into teeth faster.  Dentists often suggest that children receive x-rays every one to two years.  Teens are usually able to hold off a bit longer between x-rays and can go a year and a half to three years before a new film is necessary.  It is frequently suggested that adults without major oral hygiene problems have x-rays every two to three years.  If you have dental problems including gum disease, dry mouth, or you use tobacco products regularly, more frequent x-rays may be recommended.

X-ray Safety

Although x-rays do not pose major health risks, there are a few things you can do to ensure that your x-ray experience is as safe as possible.  First, be sure to tell your dentist if you are pregnant or if there is any possibility that you might be pregnant.  Special precautions may need to be taken to protect both you and your baby from being exposed to any unnecessary radiation.  Second, a lead apron should be used to cover your torso while x-rays are being taken.  This apron can protect your organs from radiation exposure.  You might also inquire about a thyroid collar, used to cover and protect your neck, if you are particularly worried about radiation.  Lastly, ask your dentist about digital x-rays, which can significantly reduce the amount of radiation that you are subjected to.

While x-rays do expose patients to a small amount of radiation, the benefits of having dental x-rays taken far outweigh the risks.  Early detection of dental issues, as well as the ability to monitor changes in the jaw and teeth, are just a few of the reasons that dental x-rays are useful for you and your dentist.  X-rays are an important step in taking great care of your mouth.

If you have questions or concerns about dental x-rays or any other dental inquiries, do not hesitate to contact the friendly office of Dr. Peabody, your Santa Cruz Cosmetic Dentist.

 

Dr. Guy Peabody, DDS

620 Frederick Street
Santa Cruz CA 5062
(831) 457-0343

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