Have you ever wondered whether dental x-rays are safe or not? It’s a good question to ask! The truth is that advancements in dental x-rays have made them very safe and expose people to very little radiation. The use of digital x-rays, has been shown to cut exposure to x-rays by as much as 90%. More importantly, they are absolutely necessary in diagnosing a lot of dental problems from decay to proper development and alignment of the teeth. Failure to take x-rays can lead to undiagnosed problems which, if not caught early, can lead to more extensive and expensive problems later. That being said, it is important that your dentist takes special precautions to ensure that the radiation is kept to a minimum. For example, you should always be wearing a lead apron to protect your internal organs while x-rays are being taken and x-rays should only be taken when necessary for diagnosis of dental problems. Bitewing x-rays, for example, are taken to diagnose cavities between the teeth and are not necessary until the posterior teeth contact. If a child is prone to dental decay or at high risk for decay, we recommend bitewing x-rays taken every 6 months. In contrast, a child who has never had a cavity with no visual signs of a cavity would probably not need them as often.