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How Safe Are Dental X-Rays and How Do They Work?

Philadelphia, PA

How Safe Are Dental X-Rays?

Dental X Ray of Teeth

The aim of dental care providers is to prevent dental infection and improve oral health. Early detection and intervention can cure a majority of dental problems easily. X-rays have played a significant role in dental medicine in the diagnosis of diseases and in treatment planning. The technique involves exposure of teeth and soft tissues to ionizing radiation. Some of this radiation passes through soft tissues while some is absorbed. The dentist goes through the radiograph to check for signs of infection or to get a better picture of the dentition, which may help in treatment planning for dental implants or Invisalign braces. X-rays are a form of electromagnetic radiation. Since exposure of the body to radiations raises health concerns, the safety of dental X-rays is questioned today.

How do X-rays work?

X-rays are electromagnetic radiations which can pass through soft tissues of our body. The dentist first plans the angle required. The image is then taken with the X-ray equipment on one side and a film or digital sensor on the opposite side. Teeth and bone block some of the radiations while others pass through. This leaves a picture of the teeth, gums, and bone. The dentist can use the X-ray image to check for tooth decay, gum problems, infection of bone or other dental health problems.

The safety concerns

Electromagnetic radiations can be harmful to human beings when they are intense. The Sun and some electronic appliances we use in daily life are some sources of electromagnetic radiations. The X-rays too use such energy to provide a better picture of the oral cavity. The radiation is capable of making biological changes in tissues. The American Dental Association and Food and Drug Administration have well-set guidelines for the use of X-rays. It includes safety standards for the use of equipment, maximum limit for radiation dosage, and necessary basic training for the personnel who use the equipment. Special care should be taken when X-rays are used for children. Otherwise, the dental organizations suggest ALARA principal for use of X-rays. As Low As Reasonably Achievable - this is what dental professionals follow as a principal when it comes to the dosage of the X-rays. The dentist does a risk-benefit analysis before recommending the use of X-rays. The recommendation will be based on the type of the infection, the age of the patient and the frequency of the X-rays taken earlier. The guidelines and the optimum care of dental professionals ensure a safe and effective dental examination process.

Want to find out more about the safety of our dental x-rays and how they work? Feel free to consult our Philadelphia emergency dentist.

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