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:

  • cavities,
  • 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

How to get in touch with CHD Dental Hygiene Clinic?

Feel free to contact the CHD Dental Hygiene Clinic by phone, email, or WhatsApp. We are delighted to welcome you in our dental clinics in Geneva, Meyrin, Lausanne, and most recently Yverdon!