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. X-ray images of teeth aren't likely to cause side effects. Adding a barium enema to the tests may make you feel sick and bloated or give you a mild headache.
However, a barium enema is used for x-rays of the intestine instead of the teeth and is not related to dental imaging. Dental x-rays help dentists visualize diseases of the teeth and surrounding tissue that cannot be seen with a simple oral exam. Many dental problems are invisible to the naked eye, and x-rays allow the dentist to discover a variety of problems in tooth enamel, gums, and tooth roots. Exposure to all sources of radiation, such as the sun, minerals in the earth, household appliances and dental x-rays, can damage tissues and cells in the body and cause the development of cancer.
X-rays are a very common dental procedure that allows the dentist to look deep inside the gums, including the bones, the roots of the teeth, and through tooth enamel. To illustrate this, x-rays can detect breast cancer, pneumonia (no), cancerous bone tumors, other lung problems, swallowing problems (dysphagia), dental abscesses, and other dental problems. To gain perspective, a single digital dental x-ray has 0.1 mrem of radiation and a set of 4 bites has 0.4 mrem. As can be seen from the above numbers, dental x-ray examination of teeth is relatively safe5, since the radiation dose is less than one day of background radiation.
Dentists quickly realize that there are multiple sources of radiation in your daily life that expose you to higher levels, over a year, than a dental x-ray. Basically, while dental x-rays expose you to certain radiation, the benefits of doing them outweigh the risks. There are studies on the health effects of dental x-rays and panoramic images, but they are not definitive. A dental x-ray machine for babies ensures the lowest possible radiation dose without additional complications.
If you have an ongoing problem or tend to have cavities all the time despite doing everything possible to maintain good oral health, your dental hygienist may order digital x-rays every six to 18 months until the problem goes away. To put dental x-rays into perspective, let's compare them to other environmental sources of radiation. Some correlation was found between general health and dental x-rays, but no clear evidence has been provided so far.