How To Prepare
Before the X-ray test, tell your
doctor if you are or might be pregnant. Dental X-rays are only done on your
mouth area, but if you are pregnant, routine dental X-rays may be postponed so
you do not have any radiation to your baby (fetus). If
dental X-rays are absolutely needed, a lead apron will be placed over your
belly to shield your baby from the X-rays.
You do not need to do
anything else before having a dental X-ray.
How It Is Done
Dental X-rays are taken in the
dentist's office. The X-ray pictures are read by your
- A dental technician will cover you with a heavy
lead apron as you sit upright in a chair. This apron shields your body from
X-rays. Modern lead aprons have a collar (called a thyroid shield) to shield
thyroid gland from radiation.
else in the room wears a protective apron or stays behind a protective
- The dental technician will have you bite down on a small
piece of cardboard or plastic. The cardboard or plastic holds X-ray film. You
may do this several times to get pictures of all your teeth. Some X-ray
machines have a camera that circles your head and takes pictures of your teeth
while you sit or stand.
- You may want to rinse your mouth before and after the
How It Feels
X-rays take only a few minutes and are
Some people may gag on the plastic or cardboard that
holds the X-ray film. People often find it easier to relax if they focus on
something else (such as an object on the wall) and take slow, deep breaths
through their nose during the X-rays.
Radiation used in dental X-rays is so low that
there is very little chance of problems from having the X-rays.
Pregnant women may not want to have routine dental X-rays taken until after
they give birth. Although there is no proof that a routine dental X-ray could
harm a developing baby (fetus), dentists usually suggest you wait to have your
X-rays until after the baby is born. Delaying the X-ray for a few months will
not result in further harm to teeth in most cases. There are times when the
severity of the dental problem requires an X-ray to deal with an urgent
X-rays are pictures of the teeth, bones, and soft
tissues around them to help find problems with the teeth, mouth, and jaw. Your
dentist can talk to you about your X-rays right after they are done.
No tooth decay is
No damage to the bones
supporting the teeth is seen.
No dental injuries, such as
tooth or jaw
fractures, are seen.
cysts, solid growths (tumors), or
abscesses are seen.
No extra or
impacted teeth are seen and no teeth are out of their
Tooth decay is
Damage to the bones supporting
the teeth is seen.
Dental injuries, such as tooth
or jaw fractures, are seen.
Cysts, solid growths
(tumors), or abscesses are seen.
Abnormally placed, extra, or
impacted teeth are seen.