I was recently at the dentist, and they put this heavy apron over my chest before taking dental X-rays. This made me worry. Are dental X-rays really safe?
Not to worry – the dose of radiation that you are exposed to while a dentist is taking dental X-rays is very small. Many people worry about this because of the word “radiation,” which is commonly linked to nerve damage, tissue and cell damage, and even cancer.
Modern dentistry has improved over the years and the levels of radiation emitted by dental X-ray machines is now extremely low. Newer digital X-ray machines beam radiation to a very small, targeted area that reduces exposure to other body parts. The machines are also faster, which means that you are exposed to radiation for a shorter amount of time. Film holders that are placed in the mouth keep the film in place and reduce the need for repeat X-rays due to the film slipping. And, those lead-line body aprons shield the body from any stray radiation.
It is recommended, though, that pregnant woman wait until after birth to receive dental X-rays if possible just as an extra preventative measure to avoid any complications with the pregnancy or birth defects. However, according to the American College of Radiology, no single X-ray has a radiation dose significant enough to cause harmful effects in a developing embryo. Waiting until after birth is simply a preference most women and dentists have if the X-rays are not a pressing matter in the patient’s dental care.
With all of these protective measures, dental X-rays are very safe and there is no real need to worry about radiation exposure as a result of having a dental X-ray. Federal law also required that X-ray machines be checked for safety and accuracy every two years, so you can be sure there are no lapses in safety precautions at your dentist’s office. If you have any more questions about dental X-ray, ask in the comments below or contact DentaLux today!