Dental X-rays are quite routine but very important for both dentists and patients. Dental X-rays help the dentist to pinpoint problem areas within the teeth and gums. Dental X-rays can help the dentist identify teeth that need fillings or filling replacement. Therefore, Dental X-rays are critical for evaluation as well as treatment purposes.
Margin of Safety Regarding Dental X-Rays
Many have wondered whether or not dental X-rays are really safe. Much has been made about X-rays and radiation over the years. Of course, it is common knowledge that long term exposure to radiation can have serious health consequences. Radiation can damage bodily organs and it can contribute to the development of certain cancers.
Dental X-rays only use a small amount of radiation. Therefore, the patient is only exposed to minimal amounts of radiation for a few seconds or until the X-rays are complete. In addition, most dentists do supply led aprons and other protective measures to protect patients from experiencing more radiation exposure than necessary. You can always inquire if your dentist does have any protective covering that you can possibly wear while dental X-rays are being taken.
Type of Radiation Used During Dental X-Rays
The type of radiation omitted during Dental X-rays is called ionizing radiation. The type of X-ray equipment used by dentists as well as oral surgeons releases small amounts of ionizing radiation. Knowing this, and the fact that dental X-rays are taken usually only once or twice a year, there seems to be no immediate cause for concern. However, some do feel that exposure to even small amounts of radiation can be harmful over a period of time.
It is s well known fact that exposure to radiation on a regular basis over time can damage organs within the body such as the liver, thyroid, and kidneys, as well as the reproductive organs. Therefore, some people fear that radiation exposure over time could possibly cause kidney and or liver impairment. However, the small exposure necessary for dental X-rays does not pose any extreme threat of this, even if several X-rays must be taken.
Discuss Precautionary Measures with Your Dentist:
It is probably best to take precautions if you feel it is necessary when being exposed to any type of radiation. It is important to also remember that most people must be exposed to radiation in larger amounts for a prolonged period of time in order to develop any serious health problems.
Finally, by no means neglect dental care because you have a fear of radiation exposure. Avoiding the dentist and practicing poor dental hygiene due to a fear of X-rays can cause more health problems than the actual X-rays. Therefore, make certain you do receive proper dental care and treatment. Dental X-rays are still performed relatively often and as far as is known, no real health danger exists when your are exposed to minute amounts of radiation, especially during dental X-rays.
If you would like more information about the safety of dental X-rays, or would like to schedule an appointment, please contact the office of Dr. Larry D. Molenda, D.D.S. in San Marcos, TX.