Are dental x-rays safe and necessary?

Dr. Jessica Wyatt, General Dentist, Elite Dental and Aesthetics

131 NW 100th Ave

Plantation, FL 33324


Let me summarize for those that may not read the entire article – YES! Research shows that dental x-rays are safe and necessary in a certain frequency, even if you don’t have teeth! Okay, so if you haven’t flipped the page and want to learn more, here are a few important reasons why you should and need to have regular dental radiographs taken:

1) Each year, our exposure to background radiation is equivalent to 1,200 dental x-rays. What does that mean? Well, that means just by living our daily lives, we receive what’s called “background radiation.” Many patients will refuse dental x-rays because they feel they are unsafe, but, compared to the amount of radiation present in everyday items, dental x-rays carry a very low risk of causing harm. For example, in terms of radiation exposure, eating 5 Brazil nuts is about the same as having 1 dental x-ray taken.

2) Dental x-rays show the dentist what the eye cannot see. But why not just wait until something starts to hurt? Well, in dentistry, cavities and other dental problems can grow quietly and asymptomatically for quite some time. When cavities are asymptomatic and small, they can most often be treated with a small, easy, and relatively inexpensive filling. Once a cavity become symptomatic, that usually indicates that it has grown so big it has infiltrated the nerve and the treatment usually becomes more aggressive and expensive, like a root canal and crown.

3) Safety precautions are taken to minimize the amount of exposure. Our office utilizes the smallest, most comfortable x-ray sensors that require minimal amounts of radiation. In addition, our staff is highly trained in techniques and in the use of lead aprons with thyroid protection to minimize any unnecessary exposure.

Modern dentistry has come a long way in many regards, especially when it comes to dental x-rays. In any practice or procedure we do, we always weigh the benefits and risks beforehand. If you have any questions or concerns about x-rays beyond this article, feel free to reach out and discuss your concerns!

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