are dental x rays safe

Are Dental X-rays Safe?

If you’ve ever been to the dentist or orthodontist, you’ve probably had your teeth X-rayed. X-rays are common medical tools, with most patients getting them done at least once a year. With how common X-rays are, you might never have wondered, are dental or orthodontic X-rays safe? Then, you get pregnant or your children need to get them done. To help ease your worries, Milnor Orthodontics has put together all the information you need about dental X-rays and their safety.

When do you need dental X-rays?

As mentioned above, dental X-rays are normally completed once a year at your routine dental check-up. Depending on your age, they might be done twice a year or every year and a half as well. Your dentist might also request X-rays if you are recovering from a dental injury or if they suspect you have a dental infection. In addition to X-rays at the dentist, you will also get X-rays completed at your orthodontic appointments. Typically, orthodontic X-rays are done at the beginning, middle, and end of your treatment. At the beginning, they’re used to see what treatment will be best for handling your orthodontic issues. Towards the middle of treatment, your orthodontist will want to take additional X-rays to see how the treatment is going and if you are progressing at the anticipated rate. After you complete your treatment, your orthodontist will again take X-rays to record the results and determine a retention plan. 

How much radiation is in a dental X-ray? 

Dental X-rays have come a long way since they were first developed. Initially, dentists and doctors did not understand radiation and its negative impact on the body. As knowledge about X-rays advanced, doctors came to understand that only a minimal amount of radiation was needed to get the same results. Consequently, X-rays now only use an amount of radiation smaller than the natural amounts found in soil, drinking water, cigarettes, and gas stoves. When looked at from this perspective, X-rays don’t add any more radiation to the body than is already found naturally. 

Are dental X-rays safe?

This is a concern of many patients, especially those who are pregnant. Since you’ve grown up hearing about nuclear radiation and its horrible effects on the human body, it’s natural to assume that any radiation is bad. But as mentioned above, radiation is found in many things we come into contact with every day. Over time, the levels of radiation found in an X-ray have diminished, and any remaining radiation is blocked by the lead aprons patients wear during the scans. If you’re pregnant, this apron protects both you and your baby. Although your mouth is exposed to radiation during the X-ray, no other part of your body is, making a dental X-ray safe regardless of whether you are pregnant or not. 

Milnor Orthodontics makes patients’ health and safety a top priority. If you are pregnant and considering orthodontic treatment, contact Milnor Orthodontics today! We can develop a treatment plan that’s right for you.    

At Milnor Orthodontics, our experts are here to help you achieve a priceless smile. Call our office at (970) 484-3214 or visit to learn more. We're located at 1103 S. Shields St. in Fort Collins, Colorado.