No. In fact, digital radiography is safe for everyone, including children and pregnant women. Dentists use digital radiography to diagnose and prevent oral care issues.

What are dental x-rays used for?

Digital radiography assists in the detection of a multitude of oral concerns not visible during a standard exam. For this reason, dentists will order various digital shots for more detailed pictures of your mouth, teeth, and gums. An x-ray is a type of energy absorbed by denser tissues after passing through soft tissues. Gums and cheeks are the soft tissues that x-rays will pass through before the denser tissues of your teeth and bone absorb the rays. Digital radiography works similarly to x-rays, without the use of film. Digital radiography images can help your dentist identify cavities, examine teeth roots and bone, check for diseases or infection, watch the growth of developing teeth, and diagnose abnormalities.   

Who needs digital x-rays and how often?

Most people who regularly see a dentist will encounter the need for a digital x-ray. Your dentist will use a range of factors, including dental history and age, to determine how often you need to update your images. Some people may need new digital x-rays every year, but some may rarely need updated pictures. Oftentimes, children need more frequent x-rays to oversee the growth of their developing teeth, gums, and oral bones. If you are visiting a new dentist, they may request digital x-rays to assess your oral health. Digital radiography makes it simple to transfer x-rays between dental offices; you may request this to aid your transition between dentists.

dentist reviewing a child's digital x-rays

What happens during a digital x-ray?

Before getting a digital x-ray, a lead apron will cover your abdomen to protect your body from the low levels of radiation that the x-ray machine emits. Additionally, some dental professionals will use leaded thyroid collars for further protection from radiation. This step is especially important if you are pregnant. The leaded garments will protect your fetus from radiation exposure. If you are pregnant during a dental visit, please tell your dentist before starting the x-rays. Following proper protection from the radiation, the technician will insert a sensor in your mouth. To get the requested pictures, several adjustments will occur, but the process as a whole is painless. Digital radiography allows dentists to view images immediately.  

man wearing leaded apron during digital radiography

What about the radiation during Digital radiography?

Despite the small level of radiation emission, digital x-ray technologies remain a safe tool for dental and healthcare professionals. Your amount of radiation exposure per x-ray is low, causing your overall risk to be low as well. The benefits of digital x-rays far outweigh this small risk.

Digital radiography is a beneficial diagnostic and preventative tool for your dentist. X-rays can pinpoint existing and future complications, and assist dental experts in making oral care decisions. To ensure proper care, you should allow your dentist to take digital x-rays when deemed necessary. As a preventative measure, we recommend annual x-rays at A Beautiful Smile at Lake Pointe. Don’t let the small amount of x-ray radiation exposure dissuade you from taking advantage of this helpful tool!