Are Dental X-Rays Risky?

Thursday, April 12th, 2012, 8:21 pm

A study published by the American Cancer Society this week linked frequent dental x-rays with a non-cancerous brain tumor called a meningioma. This type of tumor occurs in about 8 of every 100,000 people which makes it a rare disease although it is the most commonly diagnosed type of brain tumor. The study, completed at Yale University, looked at more than 1400 people who were diagnosed with a meningioma. The average age of the patients was 57.

The study seems to show that patients with the tumors were twice as likely to have had frequent dental x-rays since childhood. The study did not look at patient’s actual dental records to record the actual number of x-rays but instead relied upon the individuals in the study to remember how many x-rays they have had. Could you remember this?

NBC Nightly News reported on this subject as well noting that memories may not be completely accurate. NBC experts and others are reminding patients that due to the age of the study subjects much of the x-ray exposure occurred years ago when dental x-rays exposed patients to much higher doses of radiation. Digital radiography is now used by most progressive dental offices and offers very low radiation exposure.

Unfortunately, we cannot completely do without dental x-rays. A physical and visual examination by a dentist is not sufficient for us to detect all oral diseases – tumors, abscesses, cracked teeth, decay and more need x-rays for diagnosis. We do try to limit their use however.  At Wilbanks Smile Center we order dental x-rays only when needed for diagnosis and treatment. Protective aprons and thyroid collars are used for the safety of our patients and we never use mercury based dental fillings. Your overall health is our highest priority.

Please contact Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-886-9439 to schedule your next appointment.



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