The American Dental Association and the American Pregnancy Association both agree that the very low radiation levels used in dental X-rays are insufficient to endanger either a pregnant woman or her unborn child.
Potential Effects of a Dental X-ray
Fetuses are extremely sensitive to external factors including radiation, alcohol, drugs (illegal or prescribed), and infection. Since dental and medical visits are necessary during pregnancy, there are concerns regarding radiation. While there are scientific disputes regarding small quantities of X-ray radiation potentially harming a fetus, this is only partly true. While developing in the womb, fetal cells grow and divide quickly into specialized tissues and cells. Radiation exposure can disrupt the process resulting in possible illnesses or birth defects.
However, apart from environmental factors, childhood illnesses and birth defects can be caused by other factors including:
- Socioeconomic factors
- Maternal nutritional deficiency
Scientists are aware that hazards in the developmental process are multifold and cannot be entirely attributed to radiation via X-rays. As long as exposure does not exceed the maximum acceptable amount of 5 rad, your baby is in no danger of any ill effects of radiation.
How to Reduce Risks During Dental X-Rays
While there is an insignificant risk from a single X-ray exam, you need to take safety measures to protect your unborn child.
- Tell your dentist or X-ray technician in advance if you are (or might be) pregnant.
- Keep a detailed record of your X-ray history. This includes the type of exam, date it was taken, referring doctor, and facility where the X-ray is stored. Inform your dentist or doctor to avoid any unnecessary duplication of the procedure on the same body part.
- Ask your dentist to use E or F-speed films for their X-rays. Compared to D-speed films, E and F films are faster and have lower radiation doses while having similar benefits and near-identical costs.
- Wear a lead apron or shield. Even if the X-ray is not directed at your abdomen, ask if you can wear a lead apron or a similar shield. This will protect you from the possible risks to your reproductive organs even if you are not pregnant.
- Schedule dental visits during the 2nd trimester. Significant fetal development occurs in the 1st trimester and the 2nd half of the 3rd trimester. Limit dental X-rays and treatment in the 2nd trimester to protect your baby.
- Postpone non-emergency procedures until after the pregnancy. For dental emergencies like a dislodged tooth or gum injury, seek dental help immediately, but procedures like teeth whitening and certain orthodontic treatments can wait.
- Inform your dentist if you are undergoing radiation therapy. the radiation amount you are getting if you are under radiation therapy, as well as the level of radiation exposure your baby received. You might want to seek assistance with a medical physicist about the schedule and type of radiation therapy.
X-Rays Prior to Knowing You Are Pregnant
In rare instances where the expectant mother is not aware of their pregnancy, there is a higher risk if they undergo several X-rays on the abdomen or lower torso over a brief period.
Fortunately, dental X-rays have extremely low radiation doses and are directed in areas away from the womb. There is almost no chance of its affecting your pregnancy. However, if you have had a variety of X-rays at the hospital while you are pregnant, you should still inform your dentist so they can postpone your dental exam.
Can Dental X-rays Cause Birth Defects?
What Kind of X-Rays Can Affect the Unborn Child? During most x-ray examinations – like those of the arms, legs, head, teeth, or chest – your reproductive organs are not exposed to the direct x-ray beam. So these kinds of procedures, when properly done, do not involve any risk to the unborn child
What Happens If A Pregnant Woman Gets An X-ray?
Is it safe to have an X-ray during pregnancy? Answer From Yvonne Butler Tobah, M.D. The possibility of an X-ray during pregnancy causing harm to your unborn child is very small. Generally, the benefits of the diagnostic information from an X-ray outweigh the potential risk to a baby.
X-Rays While Breastfeeding
Generally, after you have given birth and when you start breastfeeding, X-ray tests are safe. Even if a contrast (a temporary dye used in imaging procedures) is taken, the amount of contrast passed on to your baby through your breast milk is minuscule and poses no risk.
While this brings no cause for concern, it is still best to let your dentist, doctor, and technician know if you are breastfeeding. They can assess the situation better and recommend other courses of action, like whether to postpone the test or to alter your breastfeeding schedule.
We understand if you are skeptical about getting a dental X-ray or other dental procedures while you are pregnant. Consult your dentist so they can give you a better understanding of any potential risks and the safety measures they implement to minimize them.
Turn to Springdale Dental Centre for exceptional dentist in Brampton. We will give you advice and walk you through the X-ray process so you do not have to worry about your baby. Call us at 905-458-1212 or book an appointment by filling in our Contact Us form.
4 Weeks Pregnant And Had X ray
It’s not desirable to be x-rayed while you are pregnant, but there’s no need to be terrified. Modern x-ray units use low doses of radiation. The amount of radiation for a single x-ray, in fact, is not likely to harm your baby at all.