How Much Radiation Do you Get from X-rays? Do I Need Them?

In a recent study published in the Cancer Journal for Clinicians, dental X-rays were linked with an increased risk of developing meningioma, the most common type of brain tumor. We understand that patients may be alarmed by such findings. What wasn’t emphasized in the study was that many participants in the study received their X-rays many years ago when radiation exposure was much higher than what is used today.

Gateway Oaks Family Dentistry would like to stress the importance of getting their X-rays taken. X-rays are needed because they let the dentist to see small cavities that are developing in between the teeth and  stop them before they become bigger and more costly problems.

Additionally, x-rays allow the dentist to examine the mandible and maxilla for any unusual growths or abnormalities. They  can also expose hidden dental decay, locate tarter build-up, identifying bone loss, showing impacted or extra teeth, which is very beneficial for the dentist.

Unlike other x-rays on other parts of the body, dental X-rays are very targeted to a small part of the body. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), radiation associated with dentistry represents a minor contribution to the total exposure from all sources (about 0.2 percent). You actually get more radiation why you are exposed to the sun or are flying in an airplane.

How often X-rays should be taken depends on your present oral health, age, and your risk for disease. Normally, Full Mouth X-Rays are taken if you are a new patient and consists of a series of dental x-rays angled to show all the teeth, the surrounding bone and other structures. It is a combination of 14 or more general x-rays  and 4 bite-wing x-rays to film the back teeth. Receiving Full Mouth X-Rays by the dentist ensures a complete examination of the health of your teeth. These type of X-rays are recommended every three to five years.

It is recommended by the ADA to get check-up X-rays during your bi-annual dental visits. As said before, X-rays help the dentist see cavities and other infections that they would not see with a visual exam. Children also require X-rays more often than adult because their teeth and jaws are still developing so the X-rays determine if they are being affected by tooth decay.

You can be certain that the standards set by the ADA were made to protect your personal health and safety. At Gateway Oaks Family Dentistry, using digital dental X-rays through minimal exposure, does more good than harm.

If you have any more questions or concerns about dental X-rays, feel free to call or stop by Gateway Oaks Family Dentistry to speak with Dr. Hoang Truong.