Dental Blog

Are Dental X-Rays Safe?

Are Dental X-Rays Safe?

300 300 Macatawa Smiles

dental x-rays holland mi dentistIt’s not uncommon for people to feel cautious about getting their dental X-rays. But we want to assure you that X-rays are completely safe and actually perform an important role in your preventive health.

As a family dental practice, we’re dedicated to making sure our patients get the information they need to make healthy decisions.

Here’s what you need to know.

X-Rays Are Essential for Diagnosis and Treatment

Your dentist may be able to spot stains, decay, chips, and cracks with the naked eye. But some oral health issues lie beneath the surface, such as bone loss in the jaw. For this reason, it’s vital that we take routine X-rays so we can monitor your oral health and diagnose any conditions early.

We also use dental X-rays when planning treatment. For example, we’ll take X-rays before root canal therapy to make sure the infection hasn’t spread to the jawbone. We’ll also take X-rays to aid in dental implant placement. These are just a few examples that demonstrate the capabilities of X-rays.

Digital X-Rays Have 80% Less Radiation

We take digital dental X-rays, which expose you to 80% less radiation than traditional film-based X-rays. We’ll also place a lead apron over you to protect you from the low amount of radiation exposure.

With digital X-rays, we’re able to easily enhance images to see more detail. This helps us with diagnosis and treatment planning. It also helps justify your treatment when you submit a claim to your dental insurance company.

Dental X-Rays Are Safe for Pregnant Women

Both the American Dental Association and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists agree that dental X-rays are safe during all stages of pregnancy.

The amount of exposure is very low and won’t affect your child’s development in the womb. We’ll also cover your abdomen with a protective lead apron while taking X-rays.

Please let our dentist and team know if you’re pregnant, think you may be pregnant, or are trying to conceive. Our team will take every precaution to ensure the health and safety of you and your baby.

Learn More: Why Pregnant Women Still Need to See the Dentist →

There Are Different Types of X-Rays

Bitewing X-rays are the most common. As the name suggests, your hygienist will have you bite down on the X-ray film holder while they take X-rays in one area of the mouth. They’ll then repeat this process on multiple sides of the mouth so we can get a complete picture of your oral health. In total, you’ll receive four bitewing X-rays.

Bitewings show us your teeth from the crowns to where they meet the surrounding bone. From these X-rays, we’re able to detect any cavities starting to form between your teeth. It also lets us detect any jawbone deterioration due to periodontitis (a serious gum infection).

Depending on your circumstances, we may take other types of X-rays. But bitewing X-rays are the most common.

How Often You Need X-Rays Depends on Your Health

How often you need X-rays will depend on your risk factors for cavities and other oral health issues. For example, you may only need X-rays every couple of years if you have healthy teeth and gums. Likewise, you may need X-rays every 6 months if our dentists need to closely monitor your oral health.

Request an Appointment With Us

Dr. Brenton Habecker is an experienced family dentist in Holland, MI. As such, he’d be more than happy to answer any questions you may have about our dental technology. Be sure to also check out our blog post on the five types of preventive dental care.

To request an appointment, please call Macatawa Smiles at (616) 396-7524. You may also fill out our online contact form and someone from our office will reach out to you soon.


Dear Patient Family,

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a difficult time for all of us. Many of you have been forced to wait for dental care and we appreciate your understanding while we kept our office closed to follow orders from the Governor's Office.

We are happy to say that we are opening our office for all patient treatment on June 1st, 2020. Our hours of operation will go back to normal, Monday-Thursday 8am - 5pm. We want you to know that there will be some changes at your next appointment. Please be patient with us as our protocols will inevitably change as new guidelines are released.

  • We ask that you use our parking lot as the waiting room.
  • Please wear a mask when you come into the office and leave it on until entering the treatment room. Homemade is acceptable.
  • Only the person receiving treatment should come in the building, all others will be asked to wait in the car if at all possible. The exception will be for our minor patients who may have one parent accompany them.
  • We will be asking you some questions when you arrive at the office and we will also be taking your temperature.
  • We will not be able to offer magazines, drinks, or toys at this time as they cannot be disinfected to our standards. Eventually this will change and we will be happy to offer our amenities once again.

These changes have been made to adhere to the latest CDC guidelines and for the benefit of our patients and our staff. We want you to know that our office has always taken the safety of our patients very seriously and that we will continue to follow the highest levels of sterilization and disinfection to keep you protected. If you would like more information on what measures we have taken we would be more than happy to answer any questions you may have.

We cannot say how excited we are to see all of our patients again and to provide for their dental needs. We look forward to seeing all of your smiling faces soon!

Dr. Habecker and Team