X-rays are standard procedure for dentists and oral surgeons, but they tend to prompt fear and raise suspicion among many patients. This is a natural response to something unknown. In reality, however, they are often necessary to provide the best possible care. Read on to learn when and why X-rays are needed — and whether they can be dangerous for patients.
Top Reasons For Taking X-Rays
First and foremost, oral surgeons take X-rays to get a better sense of the patient’s current oral health. These images provide an accurate view of the teeth and gums’ interior, thereby highlighting issues that may not be evident to the naked eye. When examining X-rays, oral surgeons can more accurately identify issues worth addressing, such as impacted teeth or general decay.
Occlusal X-rays may be needed to determine how, exactly, the upper and lower teeth line up. This specific type of X-ray can also be used to detect palate abnormalities. Many oral surgeons rely on panoramic X-rays as they develop plans for dental implants and other necessary procedures.
Are Dental X-Rays Dangerous?
With X-rays, as with many common medical procedures, moderation is key. The occasional X-ray will not harm the vast majority of patients. Oral surgeons are well aware of the frequency with which X-rays should be utilized.
Because they involve low levels of radiation, X-rays may be worth avoiding for select patients. Pregnant women, in particular, should not receive X-rays. Caution may also prove necessary for patients with thyroid conditions; these individuals can typically complete safe X-rays if equipped with specially designed thyroid collars.
Dental X-rays are perfectly safe for the vast majority of patients — and they are often necessary to ensure long-term dental health. If you’re at all concerned about X-rays, don’t hesitate to discuss the matter in-depth with Dr. Sharma at your next visit.