Are Dental X-Rays Safe During Pregnancy?

Are Dental X-Rays Safe During Pregnancy?

May 11, 2022

While pregnancy is an exciting phase, it comes with many changes. For this reason, pregnant women should be careful with what they eat, drink, or do. As far as oral health is concerned, pregnant women experience numerous hormonal and diet changes, making them vulnerable to various oral issues such as gum disease and cavities.

For this reason, if you’re pregnant, you should take great care of your mouth as part of your overall hygiene. Similarly, if you develop an oral issue, you may need a dental X-ray as part of your treatment. However, one question remains: are dental x-rays safe during pregnancy? In this article, let’s look at the relationship between pregnancy and your oral health and the risk of dental x-ray during pregnancy.

Pregnancy and Oral Health

During pregnancy, your body changes. You’ll primarily notice a change in your hormones and eating habits. These changes make you susceptible to mood changes, nausea, cavities, and gum sensitivity. Particularly when you brush your teeth, you may notice slight bleeding.

According to research, about 40% of pregnant women in the United States experience some form of gum disease. Similarly, other studies show a close relationship between gum infection and pregnancy risks like preterm births and low-weight babies.

If not treated, bacteria from untreated cavities and gum infections can enter the women’s bloodstream and affect the fetus directly. For this reason, pregnant women should seek proper treatment on time if they develop cavities or gum infections. Your dentist can suggest a dental x-ray to diagnose tooth decay and gum infection in such a case.

Commonly, dentists use dental x-rays to:

  • Check for tooth decay or infection that can’t be visible with an oral exam
  • Check for bone loss or damage from gum disease
  • Check for decay beneath a filling
  • Show changes in root canal or bone
  • Assist in preparing root canal, dental crowns, braces, dentures, implants, and other procedures.
  • Check for abscesses

Pregnancy and Dental X-Rays Radiation

An x-ray is electromagnet radiation of high energy that passes through any material, including body parts. In dentistry, x-rays show a photographic image of the internal composition of the teeth, bone, gums, and other parts of your mouth. During pregnancy, the concern of using dental x-rays comes from the high radiation.

According to research, high radiation levels increase the risk of congenital disabilities, miscarriage, and certain cancers. However, it’s worth noting that high radiations only happen during specific treatments, like radiation treatments for cancer. Exposure to such radiation 2-8 weeks after conception increases the risk of fetal growth problems and congenital disabilities. Between weeks 8 and 16, there’s an increased risk of intellectual or learning disabilities in the unborn child.

Generally, radiation during a single dental x-ray is minimal and unlikely to cause any complications. Scientific research shows that you need a very high dose of x-ray radiation to experience pregnancy issues or harm the fetus. Fortunately, dental x-rays radiation is nowhere near this type of dosage. Similarly, the slight radiation you get from a dental x-ray is in your mouth, so your baby isn’t exposed to the x-rays beam. Contact our team of Doctors at Newburyport Family Dental for more information about pregnancy and dental x-rays.

Should you Have a Dental X-Ray During Pregnancy?

While dental x-rays during pregnancy are considered safe, some women decide to limit their exposure to such procedures until birth. While it isn’t medically necessary, it gives them peace of mind.

However, it’s worth noting that dental x-rays are highly essential for detecting specific oral issues that could potentially become serious if not diagnosed and treated on time. For instance, untreated tooth infections can move through the mother’s bloodstream to the fetus and cause complications such as stillbirth.

Therefore, when a dental x-ray is necessary or emergency, you shouldn’t avoid them. The last thing you’d want is to have a dental emergency with a newborn because of something that you could have addressed early enough. In the case of routine dental x-rays, you can postpone them until the baby is born.

You should notify your dentist as soon as you become pregnant and in case you develop any dental issues. Your dentist will work with you to develop a customized treatment plan that is safe for you and your baby. For more information about dental x-rays in Newburyport, MA, visit our Dental Office in Newburyport, MA.

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