The Truth About the Dangers of Dental X-Rays

Dental X-ray

I’m finally back from the pain of exams and the celebration of the Christmas season!

So with the new semester starting, the work load has decreased for a little bit and I thought I’d share some information I collected when I was paranoid about X-rays and the amount of radiation it exposes you too.

As we all know, radiation exposure is terrible and can have many unknown side-effects. I remember a few years ago hearing all my friends warning against getting any type of x-ray after watching Dr. Oz.

Before jumping to conclusions about the impending doom associated with certain procedures I always test it and look for empirical evidence to see how true a claim is.

Sidenote: I really dislike the Dr. Oz program. A couple of weeks ago, he did an episode that many of my girlfriends tuned in to see about drinking ridiculously awful tasting vegetable smoothies as a “cleanse” or as he put it a Detox for your body. They were absolutely miserable for what felt like an eternity after constantly complaining about how much will and strength they needed to complete the detox.

I’m a firm believer that there is absolutely no way a short-term “detox” can undo the unhealthy habits over prolonged period. Yesterday I tuned into a scientific study that also wanted to test Dr. Oz’s claim. They tested the blood of a control group who ate normally versus the test group that took part in Dr. Oz’s detox.

The conclusion they found was that: 

1. The Detox drinks were absolutely terrible in taste and drained them of their mental ability just to complete it.

2. There were absolutely NO distinguishable differences both positive or negative between the group that took part in the Detox and those who ate normally.

3. All Detox participants felt cheated out of the cleanse they felt entitled to after suffering for over a week!

In conclusion, I really do not place any emphasis on any of the claims Dr. Oz makes as they all seem more concocted to entertain, surprise and to sell quick fixes to an audience than to make positive differences in people’s lives.

Okay so back on topic.

How Dangerous are Dental X-Rays?

If you’ve been a reader on my blog, you know that I’m a total health freak.

So I did some research over the years before exposing my body to anything that could potentially be harmful.

Especially since many of my friends will refuse to undergo X-rays of any sort.

Let’s start off with why the dentists need the X-Rays in the first place?

The Purpose of the Dental X-Ray

Dental X-rays are enable the dentist to see and underneath your gums to check whether or not there is any decay beneath the gums that is beginning.

This is very very very useful because any decay that is caught in the early stages can be easily and painlessly treated and it can greatly help you in saving money by not having to take care of the issue when it develops into something more negative like a root canal!

So now that we’ve established the importance of the dental x-ray we’ll look at whether or not the benefit is greater than the risk.

The Truth About Dental X-Ray Exposure

Dental technology is constantly evolving. I remember when I was a child having the dental assistant stick sharp pointy dental x-ray film in my mouth that would rate as a 7/10 in terms of discomfort.

They would they proceed to have me hold it in place by biting down for a few minutes or so prolonging that discomfort.

I hated dental X-rays.

Today, most modern offices have converted to a more comfortable digital x-ray that is a wired sensor that goes into your mouth. Gone are the pointed jagged edges and it is now definitely more comfortable.

So the modern digital x-ray is definitely more comfortable but how have things changed in terms of radiation exposure when compared to the film x-rays.

Digital Dental X-ray

I spoke to many different x-ray companies to get a sense of the exposure that I would encounter when going through a dental x-ray. I also spoke to many scientists to get a more objective sense of how much radiation exposure we get by going through a x-ray.

I found that with modern technology, the radiation exposure from a set of digital dental x-rays was less than a day in the sun. Wow!

After hearing this and comparing the numbers myself to ensure I wasn’t lied to I was baffled. Inside I laughed at all my friends who would reject dental x-rays only to have to spend several hundreds of dollars at a later date because their early tooth decay that could have been prevented had grown into a root canal. Ouch!

Dental X-ray Exposure

Now that was only for the the newer digital x-rays, the older technology was far harder to get information on since they have existed for so many years and range from old old to just kind of old.

What Kind of Dental X-Ray to Look for When Going for A Dentist Appointment?

So for those who have would like to minimize the radiation exposure I have these tips:

1. Dental offices do a good job protecting you with the lead aprons. Some even have aprons that cover the neck. These are the really good dentists.

2. If you have a choice of dental offices, go to one that has digital x-rays. The modern technology has WAY lower dosages of radiations compared to the older film x-rays.

3. Definitely have the dental x-rays done. Catching tooth decay in the early stages can help save you a lot of money and not only that, can save you a painful experience at the dentist. The cost: well if you go to a dentist that has digital x-rays, the exposure is less than that of a day spent in the sun which isn’t bad in my book.

Well I hope this clears up any myths or concerns you may have had about dental x-rays. The lesson I’ve learned from this is always keep up good habits so that you won’t have any drastic problems later.

Funny how this also applies to life, so with that I will go hit the books so I won’t fall too behind in this last semester before summer!

Happy 2014 everyone!

2 thoughts on “The Truth About the Dangers of Dental X-Rays

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s