Are Dental X-Rays safe?


Dental X-rays are a standard procedure during regular scheduled dental check-ups. Having their teeth X-rayed concerns many patients about the safety of the procedure and the risks of being exposed to radiation; but the benefits of dental X-rays far outweigh any risks as long as safety procedures are properly followed and the amount of X-rays are limited.

What are Dental X-rays? There are two types of X-rays you receive during your dental exam. 1. Intraoral X-rays are the most common, and include bitewing X-rays. After having these X-rays done, Dr. James Wells and the team at Wells Family Dentistry are able to discover caries (cavities) as well as check the overall health of your bone and root structure. 2. Extraoral X-rays shows all the information we need to look for any impacted teeth( an impacted tooth is a tooth that gets blocked as it’s pushing through the gum), or tooth development and to help monitor your jaw and temporomandibular joint (TMJ).

What are the safety procedures? Every professional dentist is required to follow guidelines set by the American Dental Association. These guidelines are available for patients who aren’t a high risk for cavities or caries. If you are a high risk, yearly X-rays will not harm your teeth, and can help the Wells Family Dentistry team save your teeth.

Guidelines include: 1. Children should only have X-rays every one or two years. 2. Teenagers should only have X-rays every one-and-a-half to three years. 3. Adults can have X-rays every two to three years.

The Wells Family Dentistry team use a set of four bitewing X-rays which only exposes patients to around 0.005 mSv (millisievert) of radiation. This is equal to the amount of radiation you receive from natural sources on any average day. We also use a panoramic X-ray which exposes you to about twice the amount of a bitewing. The risk associated with both X-rays is In both cases the risk is small and worth the benefits.

It’s important to tell Dr. James Wells or one of our technicians if you are pregnant, or may be pregnant if you are scheduled to have any type of X-ray. If you have any concerns with the amount of X-rays you have or are having, or the radiation you are exposes to, please give us a call during regular business hours at our office in Morehead City, NC.

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