Almost all medical investigations and treatments are associated with some risks and dental X-rays are no exclusion. Dental X-rays are images of teeth used by dentist to examine your oral health. There are many benefits of dental X-rays such as they help to diagnose cavities, periodontal disease and infections when they are not evident on examination. If the disease in the tooth and beneath the gums cannot be diagnosed--
- Many patients will be diagnosed in late stage of a disease and would experience more pain and discomfort and possibly lose more teeth because proper treatment would be started later.
- Probably more expensive and complicated procedures and treatment will be needed.
Therefore X-rays are considered by the dentists as one of the best diagnostic tools in dentistry for helping patients to preserve good oral health. But like any other X-ray dental X-rays are also associated with risk. However the risk is less as compared to the diagnostic benefit.
Also read: Dental X Ray for Children
Dentists are aware of the risk associated with X-rays, and to prevent excessive exposure your doctor will take care not to recommend X-ray unless required. There is nothing like routine X-ray.
Factors affecting how often you should get dental X-rays may include:
- age of the patient
- current oral health
- any symptoms of oral disease
- a history of gum disease or tooth decay
Also read: How often should you get your teeth X-rayed
Several advances have been made to limit X-ray exposure. In addition it is important to realize that many critical organs such as the breast, gonads are not exposed to radiation during dental X-ray.
Some means to limit X-ray exposure and the associated risks include:
- Use of reduced X-ray dose by limiting the beam to the specific area that is being X-rayed.
- Use of Improved X-ray film so that less exposure is needed to get good quality films.
- Regular X-ray machine checks for accuracy and safety
- Use of lead shields to prevent exposure to other parts of the body
- Use of digital radiography a newer kind of X-ray that reduces radiation by as much as 80 percent.