X-rays are the primary and the most essential diagnostic tools used in most medical fields including dentistry. They help assess your oral health and diagnose any underlying issues. They use minimal levels of radiation to record the interior of the teeth and gums. However, whether or not they are safe has been a topic under debate for quite some time.
Why you need X-rays?
They are important to identify oral problems which are not visible to the naked eye. Or even problems which can go unnoticed by either the patient or even the dentist. Some common dental problems that require X-rays are:
- Tooth decay, either in the teeth or underneath a filling
- Gum diseases which can cause bone loss in the teeth
- Infections in the root of the teeth or between the gums called abscesses
- Cavity formation
- In cases of wisdom teeth removal, whether you have impacted teeth or not
- Root canal changes
- They also act as a means to provide a baseline for a number of dental procedures such as braces, dentures, tooth implants, myobrace, veneers, fillings
Who needs X-rays?
Children require dental x-rays more often than adults because they are still developing their teeth and bones. They also happen to be more sensitive to X-rays hence arousing concern amongst parents. However, research has shown that the amount of radiation from an x-ray is not that harmful to children. Dentists need to administer them because they help to do the following:
- Determine if the mouth is big enough for all teeth that have yet to come in
- Whether the wisdom teeth have come in
- If primary teeth are loose enough to make room for permanent teeth
- Monitor tooth decay and identify disease
X- rays for each child will differ according to their specific needs. Pregnant women are encouraged to avoid X-rays throughout pregnancy. This is why it’s important to notify your dentist if you’re pregnant so they can navigate the procedure accordingly. Dental care during pregnancy is very important as women are more at risk for developing gum diseases like gingivitis and periodontal disease.
How to keep yourself safe?
You can minimize your exposure to radiation caused by X-rays by asking your dentist to reduce the number of images that they take. This will reduce your exposure to radiation. You can also ask the dentist to cover other regions such as your pelvic area, chest and abdomen so your other organs are not exposed unnecessarily. You can even improve your nutrition and diet to help protect yourself from the effects of radiation.