Whenever a person has problems with their respiratory tracts, broken bones, and in medical examinations, x-rays let experts take a closer look at the issue. X-rays come in many types and can even be used to check dental problems, which comes with dental x-ray safety procedures as well. However, since they utilise radiation, x-rays can potentially harm a person.
The fact that radiation damages cells in the human body is most certainly reason enough for alarm, but are x-rays, specifically dental ones, really that bad? Do they really cause horrendous side effects? Do they really pose a level of harm deserving of adverse scrutiny?
Are Dental X-Rays Genuinely Safe?
In general, x-rays are a type of radiation mainly used to image bones. They’re made from naturally appearing electromagnetic radiation, produced by charging particles with enough energy, then “firing,” the radiation to a material. Our bones are mainly made by and rich in calcium, it absorbs the x-rays and show up as a “white,” silhouette on the radiographic film.
Since the radiation is natural, our bodies can handle it, plus the fact that the amount of radiation x-rays emit are at very low levels, our bodies don’t even react to it. Some might argue that x-rays are recognised as carcinogens by the World Health Organisation (WHO), but actual cancers caused by x-rays are quite rare. For example: according to Medical News Today, out of 62 million CT (Computerised Tomography) scan procedures that took place in America back in 2007, only 0.4 percent are linked to directly causing cancer.
The study is based from CT scans—machines that pump up higher doses of x-rays—while Dental x-rays only utilise very minimal doses of x-rays. There are even digital ones that decrease exposure even more.
Who are the Individuals that Urgently Require a Dental X-Ray?
Dentists use dental x-rays for diagnostic purposes, allowing them to take a closer look at the problem and see complications almost invisible to the naked eye. Believe it or not, there are a wide range of issues that dentists simply can’t see, like:
• Bone loss caused by/related with gum disease
• Locations of decayed teeth (especially those under or in between a filling)
• Abnormal alterations in the root canal
• Abscesses (infections found between the tooth and gum or at the root of the tooth)
If dentists can’t see these elusive issues, they wouldn’t have a chance to properly treat it. Dental x-rays help dental practitioners properly diagnose these complications, so they could come up with the proper treatment, and follow the dental x-ray safety procedures to ensure maximum security. The ones that truly need them are adults who haven’t taken care of their teeth, resulting in an assortment of complications that require more attention than the usual.
What are some Safety Precautions for Dental X-Rays?
Operating a dental x-ray machine, like the Progeny Vantage Panoramic X-Ray, for example, has a couple of safety precautions. Some of them include:
• Taking only one image, instead of multiples ones to lower exposure
• Change the settings to give out the lowest radiation possible (good for kids and the elderly)
• Having leaded coverings
Of course, a person will still be exposed to some radiation, but with these precautions set in place, the radiation levels will be the least amount possible. If a person is pregnant, it’s best to have a talk with the dentist first and allow them to evaluate the situation, since it’s generally advised that pregnant women should avoid dental x-rays.
Worrying about radiation exposure is definitely good. No one wants to reach dangerously high rads. But during circumstances where the benefits are so much bigger than the risks, perhaps a little bit of faith is needed. Faith in the dentists and their expertise, and that dental x-ray safety is present with their machines, courtesy from those that manufactured it.