We know – a trip to the dentist can be scary for many patients. Dentophobia, or fear of the dentist, is extremely common and can cause patients to miss the dental appointments they need to stay healthy. One of the reasons for fear usually comes down to the tools and equipment we use to examine your teeth, including a dental X-ray. It’s a common misconception that dental X-rays are dangerous, but the Boger Dental team is here to set the record straight! Keep reading to learn more about dental X-rays to overcome any fears you may have about your next dental check-up.
What are dental X-rays?
If you’ve ever broken a bone, you’re probably pretty familiar with X-rays and their black-and-white photographs. Fortunately, for dental X-rays, you usually won’t be taking them in an emergency setting, which makes them a little less scary for most patients. It may also put your mind at rest to know that getting an X-ray of your teeth is so fast and pain-free that it won’t even seem like a major point in your next exam.
X-rays use a minimal amount of radiation to take images of the teeth and bones in your jaw. Different tissues absorb different amounts of radiation, leaving us with a black-and-white image that shows how your bones fit in your mouth.
The fact that X-rays use radiation to capture pictures of your teeth is usually what causes patients to ask, “are dental X-rays dangerous?” The short answer to this question is no, dental X-rays are not dangerous, but if your next question is, “how do you know?” we’re here to give you the details.
Are dental X-rays safe?
As with any tool we use at Boger Dental, you’re completely safe at all times when we use dental X-rays. In general, X-rays are a great diagnostic tool that helps doctors of all types assess patients and provide the best care possible. You’ll experience very low exposure to radiation during any type of X-ray, but dental imaging exposes you to even less radiation. Adverse effects are extremely rare, and we help you avoid these by implementing several precautionary steps:
1: Use a Lead Apron
Lead aprons are a still a tool for preventing radiation exposure to parts of the body we are not focusing on. Because x-rays now have such a minimal amount of radiation, the lead apron is no longer needed, but can be used if a patient requests it.
2: Use Low Levels of Radiation
By keeping radiation levels at their lowest setting during your dental X-ray, we can protect you from overexposure with just the click of a button. Every year, less and less radiation is needed for dental x-rays and we practice ALARA (As Low as Reasonably Achievable) exposure philosophy. Here’s a chart showing the amount of radiation someone receives from various activities
3: Keep the Number to a Minimum
Although we take several precautions when conducting dental X-rays, it’s also important to limit the number of images we take over the course of your life. At Boger Dental, we only take X-rays when necessary, so you don’t have to worry about radiation exposure.
Can I refuse a dental X-ray?
As a patient, you reserve the right to refuse any form of medical treatment for any reason. However, if you’re thinking about refusing your next dental X-ray, we strongly advise you to reconsider. X-rays allow our dentists to give you the best possible care for your teeth with the most accurate lens to address your concerns. Boger Dental follows all state guidelines and will require certain x-rays per their recommendations. Here are a few reasons to push through your X-ray:
It can be extremely difficult for your dentist to view all of your teeth during an exam without an X-ray. That’s because only a third of your teeth are visible when you open your mouth. Without the X-ray, we’re working in the dark, so to speak.
2: Accurate Diagnosis
X-rays help us address problems below the gum line and in between teeth that we wouldn’t otherwise be able to see. That means X-rays are great for providing proper diagnoses of more serious medical conditions before symptoms develop.
45 Years of Care, Focused On You
Dentophobia is common, but with the right understanding of how our team conducts your dental appointments, you can feel comfortable at every appointment. We won’t need to conduct X-rays at every check-up, but when we do, rest assured that our team will take all the proper precautions to protect you and your family.
With 45 years of experience making Plymouth’s families smile, Boger Dental provides exceptional care that you can trust. Whether you’re looking for a quick check-up or a more complex treatment, our doctors have you covered every step of the way. Schedule your next appointment and find your next dental home at Boger Dental today!