Are dental X-rays dangerous?

Dental X-rays are considered a regular part of routine check-ups, and have been since their invention in the 1800’s. Because of that, few have given them a second thought. In recent years many studies have taken place to review the health impacts of x-ray exposure and many of these studies revealed that long term exposure to x-rays could impact overall health. This has left many patients confused to whether they are necessary in dentistry.


What are X-rays?

Although we are aware that X-rays are a routine practice in dentistry, not many of us would be able to fully explain what this type of imagery actually is. Commonly known as radiographs, this treatment plan releases a safe level of energy which passes through soft tissues and is ultimately absorbed by the dense tissue. X-rays are able to penetrate the gums and cheeks more easily, but that doesn’t mean that teeth and bones are unable to fully absorb this small level of radiation.

When it comes to X-rays, it’s essential to understand the role they play –preventative and diagnostic. Dental X-rays are pictures of the teeth, bones, and soft tissues, designed to identify any problems patients might have with their teeth, jaw, or mouth.

Divided into two main categories, radiographs can be defined as either extraoral or intraoral. As the name suggests, the latter is taken from inside the mouth, whereas the extraoral is an external type of X-ray imaging.


Are dental X-rays dangerous?

In short, the answer is no.

Dental x-rays have been shown to have the lowest radiation dose, even less than one day of natural background radiation –for example from minerals in the soil or even water. To put this into perspective, one or two hours on an aeroplane will emit the same amount of radiation as a dental X-ray.

To further put your mind at ease, at Adelaide Dental we use modern equipment and techniques that have been adapted to keep your risks as small as possible. You can also rest assured that our friendly dental team will only perform X-rays when absolutely necessary.



Why would I need an x-ray?

Tooth decay can be tricky –during the early stages, there are no physical signs. When performing dental X-rays, dentists are able to identify any decay under the enamel, any bone loss, or any infection happening in the root. This is a vital part of a successful treatment because identifying dental problems at an early stage will save you painstaking time and money. Additionally, X-rays are a great way of keeping a tight grip on any wisdom teeth problem, both for adults and kids.


What will an x-ray show?

There are a variety of complications which can be identified by using X-rays, ranging from cavities to bone loss, problems which aren’t visible with the naked eye.

  • Cysts, tumours, or abscesses.
  • In children, x-rays can show any teeth that haven’t yet fully developed.
  • Problems such as tooth decay, weak bone structures supporting the teeth, or dental injuries.
  • Teeth that are not in the right place or do not break through the gum, or don’t have enough space to come through.
  • How to plan treatment for major cavities, dental implants, or other treatments.
  • How to plan for orthodontic treatment.
  • Early signs of decay which can’t be otherwise seen –for example, under a filling or tooth.

In some cases, the dentist may even suggest having an X-ray done after a dental procedure, to check that the treatment was a success.

You can be rest assured that here at Adelaide Dental we only use an X-ray when necessary. We will discuss all your options during your appointment. If you’re looking for a Dentist in Adelaide then pop in and visit us in our Rundle Mall clinic. We are located near the Myer Centre.