The safety of dental x-rays is another one of those hotly debated subjects in the field of dentistry. Like with fluoride, both sides of the x-ray argument have merit.
But once in the dental chair, it doesn’t matter if you are at risk of tooth decay, periodontal disease, or both, x-rays are the go-to diagnostic tool.
When considering the safety of x-rays, it’s all about the amount of radiation that our bodies are exposed to that matters dental supplies.
Proponents of the safety of modern x-rays state that we’re exposed to much less radiation from x-rays now than we were in previous decades thanks to the protective gear used during the scan and improvements in x-ray equipment.
We find that this argument doesn’t take into consideration the following factors:
Environmental threshold (body burden):
We live in an ever-increasing toxic soup.
Our metabolic detox pathways are running on overtime just trying to keep up with removing/mitigating the myriad toxic compounds we’re exposed to every day.
This argument for why undergoing x-rays is much ‘safer’ today than in previous decades presupposes that our bodies are capable of mitigating the additional potential challenges that radiation can cause.
Given the dramatic global rise we’ve been seeing in chronic diseases, it seems to us that our average health in society is declining.
This suggests that our ability to mitigate the potential damage from x-rays (on top of everything else our bodies are dealing with) may be reduced. Time will help tell the story–just by living our daily lives, we are participating in a global open trial of Pottenger’s famous cat studies, only this time the unwitting test subjects are we humans.
The timing of safety protocols with tech innovation:
Yes, technology has improved and the digital x-rays used today expose us to much less radiation than before. Plus, protective aprons do lower our risk of exposure.
But let’s think about this for a moment… When x-rays were first introduced, no one knew of the problems associated with radiation exposure. In fact, the dental industry didn’t begin to use any protective aprons until many years after introducing x-ray technology in the dental office. So is it possible that we will discover later how our x-ray exposures from today (even with newer technology and some safety precautions) have adversely affected our health?
Little personal story from my history…
Before I was born, my mother was a dental assistant. She has shared with me stories from her ‘in the trenches’ experiences. You know, simple stuff like mixing up mercury amalgam with zero knowledge of the toxic vapors she was inhaling everyday. (I sometimes wonder if my potential health was impacted by this exposure pre-conception.)
She recently shared with me that when she was working in the dental office, she would sometimes hold the x-ray plate in a child patient’s mouth while the x-ray was taken. (Notice when any x-rays are taken these days, everyone leaves the room to reduce their exposure to radiation.)
So, we’re told that x-rays are ‘safe’ now, just like ‘we’ were told back then that x-rays were safe dental vacuum forming machine.
Another example is how the protective aprons have changed over the years. At first, the heavy, lead-filled aprons just covered the torso. Then they started making sure it also covered the reproductive organs. These days, most aprons have an extra piece that wraps around the neck to protect the thyroid gland (this is a super smart move by the way, so if you do choose to get x-rays, make sure your dental team uses vests that include a thyroid shield).
Here’s the thing… We would be foolish to believe what the industry claims is ‘safe’ for x-rays. The industry simply hasn’t proven that they are certain what really is safe, and they have continued to roll out ever-increasing protections all while telling us that the current use of x-rays is safe.Need A Dentist? for more information.