If you've been listening to the news lately, you may have heard about a new report that suggests that certain kinds of dental x-rays are linked to a common brain tumor.
Alarming, yes. BUT, it's important to note that the findings cannot prove that radiation from the x-rays caused the tumors, and the results are based on people who were likely exposed to higher levels of radiation during dental X-rays than most are today.
Your safety is our priority – especially with regard to dental x-rays.
Our x-ray equipment is safe and uses very little radiation. In fact, the state of California has strict regulations and inspection procedures to check the safety of x-rays and x-ray equipment.
If you're a new patient, we'll ask you when you've had your last dental x-ray. This is because we don't want to expose you to unnecessary x-ray radiation if we don't have to. There are strict guidelines in place, set by the Food and Drug Administration, on who should have x-rays done, and when.
The following guidelines are for people who a
re NOT at risk for tooth decay:
- Adults should have bitewing X-rays every 2 to 3 years.
- Teens should have bitewing X-rays every 1½ to 3 years.
- Children should have bitewing X-rays every 1 to 2 years.
And, these are the guidelines for people who have tooth decay or who are at high risk for cavities:
- Adults should have bitewing X-rays every 1 to 1½ years.
- Teens should have bitewing X-rays every 6 to 12 months until no tooth decay is seen.
- Children should have bitewing X-rays every 6 months until no tooth decay is seen.
Everyone needs to have routine dental x-rays done. These x-rays show us pictures of your teeth, bones, and soft tissues around them. They also show us cavities, hidden teeth – like wisdom teeth – and bone loss which we can't see during a visual exam.
If you're concerned about dental x-rays and over-exposure, talk to us about it at your next dental visit. We'll explain our policy and hopefully give you some peace of mind.