The inside skinny on dental imaging and x-rays
Dental x-rays are a key tool for dental hygienists. They reveal a whole host of issues that are invisible to the naked eye, like infections, unerupted teeth, broken bones, or tissue problems. Why are dental x-rays used? Can I get dental x-rays if I’m pregnant? How much do panoramic x-rays cost? Take a closer look at dental x-rays with this article from CDH.
The inside skinny on X-rays
- Dental x-rays are done as an add-on to a traditional dental check-up for a full diagnosis of your mouth,
- Dental x-rays use relatively weak radiation, but you still need protection,
- If you are pregnant, you will need to wear a lead collar and apron to protect your thyroid and pelvic area,
- Non-urgent procedures can be postponed until after delivery, if you prefer,
- At CHD, a panoramic x-ray costs CHF 135.
What are dental x-rays for?
Dental x-rays are an essential part of your check-up and diagnosis process. They are key for an accurate assessment of your oral health and are used to identify:
- your bone level and the extent of any gum disease,
- any abscesses, cysts, or tumors,
- the development and exact location of your teeth.
How much radiation am I exposed to during dental x-rays?
A dental x-ray emits about 0.01 to 0.08 mSv of radiation (the millisievert is a unit of measurement used for radiation. 1 REM=0.01 Sv3-4-7). The upper limit on exposure is 1 mSv per year for the general public and 20 mSv for professionals exposed to radiation, like dentists and dental hygienists.
While x-ray images are processed differently nowadays thanks to digital radiography, radiation is still used. But dental x-rays use less radiation than most types of imaging.
Do you really need a lead apron during x-rays?
You need to wear a lead apron to protect your reproductive system and a lead collar to protect your thyroid. The lead collar is particularly important for children. Both the collar and apron need to meet lead equivalency standards (≥ 0.25 mm).
Dental x-rays during pregnancy
If you’re pregnant, you should avoid x-rays during the first trimester except in true emergency situations. X-rays of your pelvic region are particularly risky since they irradiate your unborn baby. When assessing the need for x-rays during pregnancy, there are two key factors: the radiation dosage and the region scanned.
The dosage used for dental radiation is relatively low (roughly 0.0074 mSv for a panoramic x-ray), and the area irradiated is nowhere near your pelvis and is outside its axis.
As long as you wear a lead apron that covers your torso, dental x-rays aren’t a risk to you or your baby. But we want you to feel comfortable, and non-urgent procedures can be postponed until after delivery if you prefer.
How much do dental x-rays cost?
At CHD, the cost depends on the type of x-ray:
- two exam x-rays (bitewings), CHF 33
- panoramic x-ray, CHF 135