What are dental X-rays?
Dental X-rays are the most common form of imaging in medicine and use low levels of ionising radiation.
X-rays are usually very quick exams and having one will feel very similar to having a photograph taken.
What information is obtained?
There are many reasons your dentist may require you to have a dental X-ray for example:
1) to get a better idea of the position of your teeth that are not fully visible;
2) to check for tooth decay and the condition of fillings;
3) for orthodontic planning;
4) to examine lumps and tumours.
Your dentist should discuss with you the reason for the X-ray and what they hope to gain from it. Before your X-ray goes ahead the dentist, as a registered healthcare professional, will have looked through your medical history. They will only X-ray you if they need more information.
Types of dental X-rays
What do I need to know?
This video details the process involved in an X-ray, what to expect and information around the risks involved.
Take away points:
The risks of dental imaging are low.
X-rays do not hurt.
The information gained will be used to help improve your oral health.
If you would like to find out more about the risks of dental X-rays please follow this link.
In the past you may have been given a lead apron or small shields for a certain body part during an x-ray. Recent science shows that this is usually not necessary due to improvements in technology and scientific knowledge.
Therefore, you may notice that you are no longer offered shielding where you previously were. If you would like more information on why this change has happened you can find it in the document "Guidance on using contact shielding on patients for diagnostic radiology applications" (BIR).