Are Dental X-rays Safe?

A reader wrote to me asking if their dentist requested to X-ray their mouth every time they saw them, should they allow that X-ray. 

After some research I found that the American Dental Association advises that your dentist should examine your mouth, teeth and tongue first, evaluate your risk factors (age, heredity issues, frequency of visits to the dentist, the time of your last dental X-rays taken, and any presence of gum disease) and then decide if x rays are necessary.

In addition to the risk factors listed, the risk of radiation from the X-ray and costs are issues that need to be considered.  You can get further protection from radiation by asking for a lead apron to be used.

The ADA recommends bi-annual teeth cleaning and checkups to avoid potential health issues related to gum disease, which can become serious. If you have fears about dentists that you can’t manage, there are options available to help ease your anxiety.  Contact the ADA for recommendations.


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