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Most people see their dentist once every six months. Individuals with dental issues might see their dentist more often, though. Either way, dental x-rays are a common procedure for most patients. Each dentist recommends and takes them on a different schedule. This tends to be every other visit or at least once per year. By now, most patients know that x-rays expose themselves to radiation. Such a fact makes most individuals wonder if dental x-rays are actually safe.
X-Rays: Safe (In Moderation)
Performed in moderation, dental x-rays are safe for the average patient. A round of images exposes a person to similar amounts of radiation they encounter each day. Therefore, such imaging doesn’t pose a significant threat to human beings. They’re not performed often enough to cause short-term harm after all. Far too many people fail to realize that radiation has a cumulative effect on the body, though. In small amounts, radiation won’t cause harm to the human body on a short-term basis.
Radiation Exposure And Long-Term Effects of Dental X-Rays
Radiation exposure builds up over time and starts to affect the body. One-time x-rays won’t cause harm on their own. However, some patients receive x-rays once per year for 20 to 50 years. Studies haven’t been performed on how such exposure affects the human body long-term. Various health organizations have implemented guidelines for dentists that recommend less frequent x-rays to avoid long-term side effects. At this point, dentists aren’t required to follow these guidelines and create their own policies.
X-Rays and Healthy Patients
In healthy individuals, x-rays might be necessary once every two to three years. Those with good dental hygiene habits fit into this category. The same applies to individuals that have a history of healthy and cavity-free teeth. Since these people are less likely to develop dental problems, they don’t need x-rays so often. More and more dentists continue to implement different x-ray timetables for their patients, based upon their current habits and past dental history.
X-Rays and Patients With Dental Problems
On the other hand, certain individuals should continue to receive x-rays annually. This includes people with poor dental hygiene and a history of cavities. Some people are more prone to cavities than others. Without a doubt, members of this group should be monitored and scanned for dental issues regularly. Each person’s dentist will need to weigh the pros and cons of frequent x-rays, though. Radiation exposure of any type comes with risks that dentists need to inform their patients about.
When Necessary, X-Ray Pros Outweigh The Cons!
For the most part, dental x-rays are safe and non-invasive for patients. A given patient has individualized needs unique to themselves. The fact is that radiation exposure across 30 years’ worth of dental checkups does affect the body. Luckily, dentists can avoid these issues by performing x-rays only when necessary. It’s important to identify healthy patients that don’t need x-rays that often. Dentists must then be selective over who receives frequent x-rays to avoid long-term effects.