Honest Family Dental

How Safe Are Dental X-rays?

When it comes to dental care, X-rays are a fundamental tool, providing invaluable insights that help dentists diagnose and treat conditions that might otherwise go unnoticed. However, the use of X-rays often brings up concerns about safety, particularly regarding exposure to radiation. 

Are dental X-rays dangerous or safe?

It’s a valid concern that deserves attention, especially when considering dental health practices for ourselves and our families.

At Honest Family Dental, we understand these concerns and are committed to not only using the latest in safe dental technology but also to ensuring our patients are fully informed about the procedures they undergo. 

In this article, we’ll go over everything you need to know about dental X-rays, dispelling common myths, discussing modern safety measures, and helping you understand just how safe dental X-rays really are. 

What Are Dental X-rays?

Dental X-rays are a type of imaging technology used to provide a comprehensive view of your oral health that goes beyond what the naked eye can see. They play a critical role in dentistry, offering detailed insights into the health of your teeth, roots, jaw placement, and facial bone composition. 

These images are crucial for diagnosing problems such as cavities, tooth decay, impacted teeth, and jawbone damage, which might otherwise remain undetected until they become more severe.

Types of Dental X-rays:

  • Bitewing X-rays show details of the upper and lower teeth in one area of the mouth. 
  • Periapical X-rays focus on two complete teeth from root to crown. 
  • Panoramic X-rays, which capture an entire image of your oral cavity in a single shot, provide a view that includes your nose, sinuses, jaw joints, and teeth. 
  • Cone Beam Computed Tomography (CBCT) provides three-dimensional images.

The choice of which type of X-ray to use depends on the specific dental health issue suspected by your dentist. Each type provides different benefits and is selected based on the diagnostic needs. 

Safety Concerns Addressed

Despite the invaluable diagnostic benefits of dental X-rays, many patients express concerns about their safety, primarily due to the radiation exposure involved. It’s important to address these concerns with accurate information and context to help patients feel comfortable and informed.

In order to answer the question of “are dental X-rays harmful”, we can start by looking at the radiation exposure. 

Radiation Exposure: Dental X-rays do involve exposure to radiation, but the levels are extremely low, especially with modern digital X-ray technology. 

The radiation dose from a routine set of dental X-rays is very small when compared with other sources of radiation exposure encountered in everyday life, such as natural background radiation from the environment or medical X-rays used for other purposes.

To put it in perspective, the radiation exposure from a set of four bitewing X-rays is roughly equivalent to the amount of radiation you would receive from a 1-2 hour airplane flight. This small amount is considered safe for most individuals, including children, when administered properly.

Safety Measures and Precautions: At Honest Family Dental, we prioritize patient safety by implementing several safety measures:

  • Lead Aprons and Thyroid Collars: We use lead aprons and, when necessary, thyroid collars to protect patients from unnecessary radiation exposure to other parts of the body.
  • Digital X-rays: Our office utilizes digital X-ray technology, which significantly reduces radiation exposure compared to traditional film X-rays. 
  • Routine Equipment Checks: Regular maintenance and calibration of X-ray equipment ensure that they operate at optimal efficiency with the lowest possible radiation dose.

By adhering to these strict safety protocols and using the latest technology, Honest Family Dental ensures that the health benefits of dental X-rays far outweigh the risks. Educating patients about these precautions helps to alleviate concerns and foster a more informed understanding of the safety and necessity of dental imaging.

Technological Advancements and Safety Measures

Dental technology has made significant strides over the years, and one of the areas where these advancements are most evident is in dental X-rays. Modern technology not only improves diagnostic accuracy but also enhances safety, making dental X-rays safer than ever before.

Digital X-rays: One of the most significant advancements in dental imaging is the shift from traditional film X-rays to digital X-rays. Digital X-rays use electronic sensors instead of film, which offers several advantages:

  • Reduced Radiation Exposure
  • Enhanced Image Quality
  • Immediate Results
  • Environmentally Friendly

By leveraging these technological advancements and adhering to rigorous safety measures, Honest Family Dental ensures that our patients receive the highest standard of care with the utmost safety. We are committed to using the best available technology to protect your health while providing accurate and efficient dental care.

So, Are Dental X-rays Safe?

Given the advancements in dental technology and the stringent safety measures in place, the short answer is yes, dental X-rays are safe.

Scientific Evidence and Expert Opinions: The amount of radiation exposure from dental X-rays is extremely low. The American Dental Association (ADA) and other health organizations have established guidelines that dental professionals follow to ensure patient safety. 

According to the ADA, the radiation risk from dental X-rays is minimal especially when compared to other sources of radiation exposure we encounter daily, such as from natural environmental sources.

To put it into perspective, the radiation dose from a single dental X-ray is about 0.5 mrem.

While no medical procedure is without risk, the benefits of dental X-rays far outweigh the minimal risks. They provide essential information that helps dentists diagnose and treat dental issues early, preventing more significant problems down the line. By detecting issues like cavities, impacted teeth, and jawbone abnormalities early, dental X-rays can save you from pain, extensive treatments, and higher costs in the future.

Making an Informed Decision

When it comes to dental care, making informed decisions about procedures like X-rays is crucial. At Honest Family Dental, we believe in empowering our patients with the knowledge they need to feel confident and comfortable with their dental health choices.

Ask Questions: Never hesitate to ask your dentist questions about the necessity and safety of dental X-rays. Understanding why an X-ray is recommended, how it will benefit your oral health, and what measures are in place to ensure your safety can help alleviate any concerns.

Discuss Your Medical History: Make sure your dentist is aware of your complete medical history, including any previous radiation exposure or medical conditions. This information helps your dentist determine the most appropriate and safe frequency for X-rays based on your individual needs.

Understand the Benefits: Dental X-rays are a powerful diagnostic tool that can reveal issues not visible during a regular dental exam. By detecting problems like cavities, impacted teeth, bone loss, and infections early, X-rays enable timely and less invasive treatments, ultimately preserving your oral health.

Trust Your Dental Team: At Honest Family Dental, our team is dedicated to your health and safety. We use state-of-the-art equipment, follow strict safety protocols, and provide clear communication about every procedure. Trusting your dental team means knowing that your care is in the hands of professionals committed to your well-being.


In conclusion, dental X-rays are a vital tool in modern dentistry, offering critical insights that help diagnose and treat various oral health issues. Despite common concerns about radiation exposure, dental X-rays are safe when performed with the advanced technology and stringent safety measures we use at Honest Family Dental. 

The amount of radiation involved is minimal, and the diagnostic benefits far outweigh the risks.

By understanding the purpose of dental X-rays, the advancements in technology that enhance their safety, and the protocols in place to protect you, you can feel confident in their use as part of your dental care. Making informed decisions about your health is essential, and we’re here to ensure you have all the information you need.