How Safe Are Dental X-rays?

dental x-raysMany people who are looking for a dentist in Purcellville, VA have questions about dental x-rays. Dental Smiles at Purcellville Gateway is an all digital office and takes our patient’s oral and overall health very seriously. For those looking for a dental office in Purcellville, VA, please read below on our thoughts regarding dental x-rays.

The radiation exposure associated with dental treatments represents a minor contribution to the total exposure from all sources. Almost half of the man-made radiation exposure is related to CT scanning. The National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP) has estimated that the mean effective radiation dose from all sources combined in the United States is 6.2 millisieverts (mSv) per year.

Do you know that occupational exposure in dental settings is far lower than that in hospitals and medical offices? According to the NCRP, the limit for occupational exposure is 50 mSv in one year. Also, the lifetime occupational effective dose is limited to 10 mSv times the number of an individual’s age. The NCRP has concluded that occupational exposure for dental personnel should never exceed these limits, excepting for problems associated with diagnostic equipment performance, facility design, or operating procedures. For pregnant patients, the radiation exposure limit is 0.5 mSv per month.

Dental X-rays are an excellent diagnostic tool when helping dental practitioners detect damage that are not visible during a dental examination and diagnosis. How frequent X-rays should be taken depends on the present oral health and age of the patient. Take, for example, children who may need X-rays more frequently than adults as their teeth and jaws are still developing, and their teeth are more likely to be affected by tooth decay than those of adults. Your dentist will then briefly review your history, examine the oral cavity and then decide whether or not you require any X-rays.

As a new patient, the dentist would perhaps recommend X-rays to determine the present status of your oral health and have a baseline gauge of the situation. A new set of X-rays may be ordered to help your dentist detect any dental decay, determine the condition of your gum health or evaluate the growth and development of your teeth. If a previous dentist has any radiographs of you, your new dentist may ask you for copies of them. Ask both dentists to assist you with forwarding your X-rays.

Dental X-ray examinations are extremely safe and nothing to worry about; however, they do require low radiation exposure, that makes the risk of potentially harmful effects are negligible. Dental X-ray methods and techniques are made to limit the body’s exposure to radiation, and every precaution is taken to make sure that radiation exposure is As Low As Reasonable Achievable (the ALARA principle). A leaded apron to reduce the exposure to the abdomen area and may be used when it will not interfere with the usage of the dental radiograph. Also, a lead thyroid collar can protect the thyroid from radiation, and should also be used whenever possible in the imaging techniques. The usage of a leaded thyroid collar is suggested for women of childbearing age, pregnant women and children.

Are you an expectant mother? Make sure to tell your dentist. During your pregnancy period, you may need to have X-rays taken as part of your treatment plan for a dental disease. Usage of the led apron and thyroid collar will ensure you are protected, and your fetus will be free from radiation exposure. Dental X-rays do not need not to be delayed if you are pregnant or are breastfeeding.

Hence, in short, the dental x-rays are safe when done in the hands of competent dentist and radiographer. Ask them about whether they practice ALARA principle in their practice is a good gauge on their competency.

When you look for a dentist in Purcellville, VA, we welcome you to give our office a try at Dental Smiles at Purcellville Gateway. Contact us today!