About Your Teeth I am pregnant. Should I avoid X-rays? - About Your Teeth

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I am pregnant. Should I avoid X-rays?

X-rays in pregnancy

It depends on the type of X-ray you need and exactly how much radiation you’re going to be exposed to. As an example most dental X-ray are only 0.01 millirad. To keep this in perspective, during pregnancy your baby is exposed to about 100 millirads of natural radiation from the sun and earth.

A CT scan, typically requested to investigate bone volume when considering dental implants, generates approximately 800 millirads of radiation. The higher the level of radiation, the greater the risk to your baby. Most X-rays, such as dental X-rays, will not expose the foetus to high enough levels of radiation to cause a problem. It is unlikely that your dentist would request a CT scan which produces the higher radiation levels of all dental x-rays, if you are pregnant.

X-rays strength is measured in rads. Rads are the units that show how much radiation is absorbed by the body. Exposing an unborn baby to more than 10 rads has been shown to increase the risk of learning disabilities and eye problems. But don’t worry. As outlined, most X-rays are much weaker than this. It’s rare for any X-ray to be stronger than five rads.

Nonetheless, some patients and dentists would prefer not to request any X-rays during pregnancy. The exposure to radiation needs to be balanced with risks of not diagnosing a dental problem and the potential for further infection or complications.

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