Can dental x-rays be harmful?

Repeated exposure to dental x-rays can cause several health problems, including head and neck tumors and several systemic problems. Basically, while dental x-rays expose you to certain radiation, the benefits of doing them outweigh the risks. Radiation exposure builds up over time, so people should avoid excessive x-rays if possible. Annual dental x-rays are not dangerous.

If a patient has a medical condition that requires frequent x-rays, they should notify their dentist. The risk of a single dental x-ray is very small. However, some studies show a slight increase in the risk of cancer, even with low levels of radiation exposure, especially in children. To be safe, we do everything we can to keep radiation exposure as low as possible.

When x-rays were first introduced, dentists and other professionals did not understand the danger of repeated exposure to radiation and the appropriate safety features and procedures had not yet been developed. Many improvements have been made to dental x-ray equipment over the years that have substantially improved the level of safety of the procedure. According to the ADA's own records, a person in good health and with a reduced risk of dental disease may have dental x-rays taken every 24 to 36 months. Meanwhile, the ADA notes that dental x-rays account for approximately 2.5% of the effective dose of radiation received from all medical x-rays and fluoroscopies (medical x-ray imaging procedures).

It's not uncommon for patients to try to avoid having dental x-rays out of fear of exposure to radiation. They help us to accurately detect dental problems and provide an instant diagnosis of tooth decay and cracks. You should first talk to your dentist to discuss any concerns or questions related to dental x-rays. If a patient has any questions or concerns before or after an x-ray procedure, ask your dental technician.

Most patients will have dental x-rays taken annually to make sure everything in their mouth is up to date. When it comes to dental health, it's always easier, less expensive and less painful to detect these problems early. Then you may be wondering if dental x-rays are safe. The short answer is: “Yes, dental x-rays are safe and often extremely beneficial to oral health.

If you are a new patient, dental x-rays may be requested to determine your oral health and have a reference point to identify changes that may occur later.