Dental X-Rays Purpose, Procedure, and Risks

Dental X-Rays: Purpose, Procedure, and Risks

Taking care of your teeth, mouth, and gums is significant in ensuring that your overall health is good in the long run. There are certain factors that affect one’s oral health, such as diet, tobacco or alcohol use, and proper hygiene, among others. 

Hence, it is essential to maintain your oral health from young adulthood until old age. If you’re a parent, you can start taking care of your child’s oral health by taking them to a kid’s dentist at least twice a year. 

Fortunately, dental procedures and treatments are much more advanced nowadays. For instance, dentists can quickly evaluate your oral health through dental x-rays or radiographs. 

Dental X-rays use low radiation levels to capture images of your teeth and gums. This way, a dental practitioner can identify tooth decay, cavities, or more complicated problems like impacted teeth. 

If you’re getting a dental X-ray for the first time, here are the things that you should know. 

Purpose of Dental X-rays

Purpose of Dental X-rays

It would be best to have dental X-rays at least once a year to monitor your oral health and quickly identify if you have a dental problem or require continuous treatment. For new patients, dental X-rays are essential so your dental health will be assessed appropriately. 

Of course, your age, current oral health, and underlying oral diseases can affect how often you should get a dental X-ray. Children might have more dental X-rays than adults so that their dentists can monitor the growth of their adult teeth

Dental X-ray Procedures

Dental X-ray Procedures

Before getting a dental X-ray, you should brush your teeth properly. When you get to the dental clinic, you have to sit in a chair with a lead vest positioned across your chest and lap.

The X-ray machine alongside your head will then record images of your mouth. There are two major types of X-rays, including an intraoral X-ray and an extraoral X-ray. 

Intraoral X-rays are the most common type, while extraoral X-rays are used by dentists if there are problems in areas outside of your gums and teeth. 

After the procedure, your dentist will review and check the images for problems. They will then discuss your treatment depending on the result of the X-ray. 

Risks of Dental X-rays

Risks of Dental X-rays

A dental X-ray is considered safe for children and adults because it involves a low level of radiation. Your dentist will also place protective gear such as a lead bub or a thyroid collar to prevent unnecessary radiation. 

However, women who believe they might be or are pregnant should not undergo any X-ray procedure. Hence, you should tell your dentist if you think you’re pregnant to ensure your baby’s safety. 


Getting a regular checkup and dental X-ray, as well as brushing and flossing, are essential for your oral health. Hence, it’s necessary to set routine checkups at least once a year to avoid dental problems. 

Moreover, it’s also important to have insurance covering dental examinations and treatment for you and your family. You should also commit to your appointments and see your dentist if any problem arises.