Are you concerned about the safety of X-rays? You are not alone. Today, more than ever, patients are concerned about the safety of X-rays in general, as well as the need for them in the dental office.
Are All X-rays The Same? Actually there are several types of X-rays that may be ordered by the dentist. The most common are what are referred to as "intraoral," a small film packet that is placed inside your mouth. You may be asked to bite on a small cardboard tab that holds a cavity-detecting X-ray film packet in place; or you may be asked to bite down on a small plastic device that helps align the film with the X-ray machine. Other types of X-rays (called "extraoral") are taken by placing a larger film cassette near your face. You may be either seated or standing while the film is being taken.
What About Radiation Safety? That's a commonly asked question and we're glad you are concerned. Radiation, in the amounts used to expose dental X-rays, is very small. In fact, the average American actually receives more radiation from sitting in front of the family television for a period of one year than from routine X-rays taken at the dentist's office!
Are X-rays Necessary Every Time I Have A Checkup? Not necessarily. The need varies from patient to patient. X-rays are taken to detect conditions or diseases present in the mouth. Depending upon the findings of your clinical examination, your dentist will determine when X-rays are necessary for you.
What Precautions Are Taken? We protect patients of all ages with a lead apron. This apron is draped over your shoulders and protects you from your neck to mid-thighs. Because the reproductive organs are also sensitive to X-radiation, we are very careful to protect these areas when taking dental films. Today's film manufacturers make ultra-speed films which require as little as 1/10th of a second of actual exposure. They also permit the lowest level of radiation possible to produce clinically acceptable diagnostic X-rays.