Dental X-rays are safe. The studies overwhelmingly prove that.
And yes, you really need them.
Why are they safe? The technology and equipment used to take and record dental X-rays (Radiographs) is constantly improving. In the 30+ years that I have been doing this, the changes are astonishing. The quality of the X-ray units has improve by leaps and bounds. The amount of radiation necessary to expose an X-ray is minimal, several hundred percent less than 30 years ago. The units have shielding and columnation (the aim and control of the X-ray beam) that is very precise. There is little or no scatter radiation anymore, as there was decades ago. Lead aprons are no longer necessary when taking routine dental X-rays. We have the aprons available for people with other risks, or women who are pregnant. But they are not used routinely anymore.
We use digital sensors now instead of film. The sensors are greatly more sensitive, and much less radiation is needed to expose the image. Then the computer software used with the digital X-rays allows us to glean so much more data than from a small film.
What X-rays do you need? We take only X-rays that are necessary for the proper diagnosis and treatment of your oral health. There are some X-rays that are taken on a regular basis to compare to previous X-rays. There are some that are taken to identify, locate, or rule out specific problems. And there are some X-rays that we take during the course of treatment to monitor and guide our treatment protocols.
Without the proper X-rays, we cannot complete a thorough examination and diagnosis, and may miss some type of simple problem or concern that could become a major problem or concern in the future. We will only recommend and take the X-rays needed for your oral care, and no more. We will tell you why we are taking them, and what they show.