Are Dental X-Rays Safe?

During your visit to the dentist you may need to have x-rays done so that your dentist can get an overall view of your mouth. Many patients feel anxious when having x-rays done as it is unfamiliar to them.

Why Would I Need An X-Ray?

Tooth decay in the early stages may not show any visible signs and it may not initially cause you pain. Sometimes your tooth might look healthy but the x-ray may show something different. From an x-ray, your dental team will be able to see if you have any decay under the enamel, any infections in the root, or any bone loss around the tooth. X-rays can also help the dental team see between your teeth or under the edge of your filling. By finding dental diseases at an early stage, you will be able to treat them before they progress into something more serious.

How Often Should I Have X-Rays?

If you are visiting the dentist as a new patient, the dental team will most likely suggest that you have x-rays. This will help them to identify any issues that need to be taken into account during your treatment. After that, x-rays may be recommended every 6-24 months, depending on the person, their age and the condition of their oral health.

Are X-Rays Dangerous?

While dental x-rays do involve radiation, the exposure levels are so low that they are considered safe to use on children and adults. There are multiple sources of background radiation that you are exposed to daily that give off higher levels of radiation over a year than a dental x-ray. The only circumstance where it may not be considered safe for an x-ray is if you are pregnant. You should inform your dental team if this is the case and they will decide the appropriate course of action.

Why Does My Dentist Leave The Room During An X-Ray

The dental team might take hundreds of x-rays every week. It is important that staff limit their exposure to radiation by moving away from the x-ray beam.

Types Of X-Ray

There are several different types of x-rays which record images at different angles in your mouth. The most common are:

  • Bitewing – This shows the crowns of your teeth ( the part that is visible above your gum).
  • Occlusal – This x-ray shows the entire arch of teeth in either the top or bottom jaw.
  • Panoramic – Used to show the entire mouth on a single image.
  • Periapical – This x-ray focusses on two complete teeth from root to crown.

To summarise, dental x-rays are very safe as they only expose you to minimal levels of radiation. It is important that if your dentist recommends that you have x-rays taken that you follow their advice as without all of the information they will not be able to meet all of your treatment needs.

5 Tips For Children Who Are Afraid of The Dentist

Our practice provides a friendly, comfortable environment to help keep all of our patients as calm as possible. However, it can be a scary experience for young children to visit the dentist. Children worry about being separated from their patients and being alone with a dentist that they might not have met before. They also fear certain procedures such as injections and drilling. This is why it is important that your child attends regular dentist appointments from a young age so that they get used to the sounds and smells that make up the dental environment. Here are our tips and tricks to help your child move past their anxieties:

Good Role Models

Children are very perceptive and will listen to what you say about your experience of dental treatments. Make sure that you talk positively about your dentist to ensure that your child feels safe. You could try bringing your child to one of your appointments to show them what the dentist does and try to make it a positive experience so that they look forward to their turn in the dental chair.

Also, whilst at home, make sure that you stress the importance of oral hygiene to your child. Encourage them to watch you whilst you brush and floss your teeth so that they can see a good oral hygiene routine and learn how to do it themselves.

Use Positive Words

When talking to your child about the dentist, make sure you are using positive words. Even if you feel negatively about the dentist, do not project this onto your children as they are very impressionable and may refuse to visit the dentist due to something bad that they have overheard you saying. If you are unsure of how to talk to your children about the dentist, give our team a call on 01723 670500 and they will help to provide any advice they can.

Relax and Distract

Another tip for parents would be to bring along cuddly toys, books, games etc for them to play with. These can act as a distractor and help them to link the dentist with positive things so that in the future they look forward to attending their appointments.

Help Your Dentist Form Common Ground With Your Child

Talk to your dentist about things that your child enjoys, such as hobbies or certain foods that they might appreciate. This will help your child feel more comfortable visiting the dentist as it will help to establish a friendly relationship.


Briefly explain to your child what their appointment is likely to entail. Describe the appointment in a way that makes your child excited to attend. However, do not create unrealistic scenarios. For example, telling your child that it ‘won’t be painful’ is a promise that could be easily broken and it may cause you and the dentist to lose your child’s trust.

If you require any extra information, visit the NHS website or give our team a call on 01723 670500.