Virtually everyone is concerned with dental health and interested in tips from their dentist on how to perform proper hygiene and avoid dental problems in the future. If you visit a dentist on a regular basis, you can expect to have dental X rays taken, at least occasionally. Therefore, you may have questions about how they are performed and if they are safe. Below are some tips about this process to put your mind at ease:
X rays of all kinds involve passing electromagnetic radiation through a particular part of the body to allow a medical professional to see images of internal structures. When a dental X ray is performed, these electromagnetic beams target the jaw to ultimately create images of the teeth and bones, which can then be evaluated by the dentist.
On a dental X ray image, fillings, restorations, teeth and bones appear lighter than the X ray's background because they block a greater amount of the radiation than do the gums and other soft tissue. In this way, the dentist can view problems that may not be visible to the naked eye. For example, X rays can reveal wisdom teeth that never surfaced, cavities, and the deterioration of bone underneath the gum line. Most of these problems can be remedied if the dentist discovers them in time.
Lowering Exposure Risk:
Because there are health hazards linked to radiation, you may be afraid of X rays. However, due to technological advancements and more regulations concerning the process, the health risks from X rays is relatively low. For example, the high-resolution X rays currently taken by most dentists require less than 10 percent of the radiation required to create a conventional X ray.
As a precaution, however, your dentist will ensure that your body is covered with a lead apron, which stops almost 95 percent of the radiation from reaching your reproductive organs, abdomen, and chest. You can also expect to wear a lead collar over your thyroid gland for most jaw and tooth X rays.
Ultimately, occasional X-rays will significantly contribute to your dental health and there is no reason to fear having dental X rays periodically, as directed by your dentist.