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Should I Be Worried About Dental X-Rays?

added on: July 14, 2022

One of the concerns your dentist in Austin is asked about a lot is whether or not patients should be worried about the safety of dental x-rays. After all, x-rays do expose patients to low levels of radiation, which can sound scary. But don’t worry, we’re here to ease those concerns. 

The Safety of Dental X-Rays

The amount of radiation used in dental x-rays is very low, and therefore, so are the risks. Many dentists offer digital x-rays instead of film x-rays of the past. This is great news all around. Not only do digital x-rays reduce the amount of radiation exposure by 90%, but they also give your dentist immediate images that are often clearer and allow for faster and more accurate diagnosis. Additionally, your dentist may take extra precautions to lower the radiation exposure even more such as a lead apron.

Why Do We Need Dental X-Rays?

Dental x-rays allow your dentist to see what’s happening below the surface of what’s visible to the naked eye. X-ray images can show early signs of decay when cavities are teeny tiny and easier to treat. These pictures will also help your dentist look at the health of your jaw bone, monitor wisdom teeth development, and watch the eruption of kids’ teeth. Some other things that dental x-rays can show are: 

  • Underlying infection in the base of the tooth (abscesses) 
  • Inner-workings of the tooth, including the root to see if a root canal may be needed
  • Position of teeth to plan for orthodontics, dentures, implants, or other treatments

How Often Will I Need to Get Dental X-Rays? 

Your dentist in Austin may recommend dental x-rays once or twice a year, or sometimes every couple of years. The truth is, every patient is unique, and how often you need x-rays will depend on your specific health history, dental health, and risk factors. Remember, dentists will only take x-rays when necessary.

Different Kinds of Dental X-Rays

There are a few different kinds of dental x-rays that your dentist in Austin may take in order to see different parts of your mouth. Some of the most common types of dental x-rays include:

  • Bitewing – Bitewing x-rays take photos of individual sections of your mouth, showing just a few teeth at a time. These photos can help find small areas of decay and diagnose cavities.  
  • Panoramic – Panoramic x-rays, just like a panoramic picture, show the entire mouth from left to right and even the jawbone. This type of x-ray is used to monitor the eruption of adult teeth, can help plan orthodontic treatment, and can examine the health of the jaw bone. 
  • Cone Beam CT – This special type of x-ray will show 3-D photos of the entire tooth structure, nerves, bone, and tissue. It’s most often used when planning dental implant treatment but can also help your dentist in Austin evaluate concerning areas such as cysts or tumors.

If you’re concerned about the safety of dental x-rays, we welcome you to schedule an appointment to chat with us. We’re always happy to help ease your worries and make sure you’re getting the best treatment that’s appropriate for you. 


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