Dental X-Rays provide a precise diagnosis of your dental problems. Also, with procedures such as “crown seats” or “root canals,” X-Rays ensure that your treatment was completed successfully. With the technology available today, X-rays are the safest they have ever been. Four X-Rays use about the same amount of radiation that is in your banana.
Though small amounts of radiation pass through dental X-rays, offices still follow ALARA: “As Low As Reasonable Achievable” when performing any treatment.
There are a few different types of X-Rays that you’ll receive in a dental office, depending on your treatment.
Panoramic X-Rays: A 3D “panoramic” image of your whole mouth, jaw bones, sinuses, and neck.
PA’s: Single X-Ray films designed to focus on a specific area of the mouth, such as a painful tooth.
Dentists are switching to a technology called Nomad X-ray technology. Unlike your typical big X-ray heads where the assistant leaves the room while operating, they are handheld and expose you to even less radiation than before.
Dental professionals take every precaution to limit your exposure to radiation. Every patient receives a lead vest for each X-Ray.
It is important to let your dentist, hygienist, and assistant know of all of your medical changes, such as pregnancy. When pregnant, it is important to limit radiation as much as possible or get medical clearance from an OBYGN. Pregnant patients with a medical clearance can still receive X-Rays for treatment, with a different protective vest to protect both the patient and fetus.
If you have questions regarding children getting X-rays, here is a brochure made by dental and medical professionals: https://www.imagegently.org/Portals/6/Dental/IG14_DentalBrochure.pdf.