When you visit a dentist, one of the things you may find your dentist suggesting that be done is to have an x-ray of your teeth taken. Also called dental radiography, these x-rays will be used to help your dental professional treat and care for your teeth in the best possible way. These are basically used to show dentists whether or not there are hidden cavities, growths, bone loss, and other similar conditions that are not visible on the surface.
These x-rays can also be used when a dentist needs to check on the progress of specific dental treatments, like implants and root canals. Usually, a dentist gets a set of x-rays of your teeth during a first visit, and this is to determine what they need to do with your teeth. Without these, your dentist may miss some of the things they need to do to your teeth in order to treat these properly.
One of the concerns some people have when it comes to dental x-rays is the exposure to the radiation one gets from it. There is actually no need for concern since these x-rays have rather small dosages of radiation, and aside from this, your dental professional will ensure that there is no accidental exposure with the use of a protective lead shield and lead apron. If you are pregnant or suspect that you are pregnant though, it is advised that you do not have these x-rays taken at this time. You will be told to have this taken after the baby is born.
Dentists follow a specific schedule for taking x-rays, not taking more than one batch unless truly necessary. If a dentist suggests that a repeat x-ray be taken a few months or weeks after the initial one, you should not be afraid to ask questions. Ask if these are really necessary, and is needed for the success of a particular treatment. If the answer is yes, then you should get these. If your dentist tells you that it is not really that imperative, then it might be better to decline the additional x-rays.
If you are still unsure about the safety of these imaging tools, you will be glad to know that there are new technologies that actually allow dentists to get the pictures they need without exposing patients to too much radiation. One is with the use of a faster speed film called an F-speed film. Another is with the use of digital x-ray machines, which use way less radiation than traditional x-ray equipment.
One thing you should take note of though, whether or not your dentist uses lower radiation equipment or not when taking dental x-rays, is that you should always tell your dentist if you recently had a medical x-ray in the past 6 months. If you have, your dentist may suggest that you get your dental x-ray a few months down the line to prevent the possibility of exposing you to more radiation, which is very dangerous. You should also ask your dentist for your x-ray copies should you decide to move to another dentist. This will prevent the need for your new dentist to take another x-ray of your teeth.