How safe are X-rays?

Our staff getting an x-ray with our latest x-ray machine

At Bellevue Hill Dental we are committed to keeping up with the latest advancements in technology, which is why we are excited to introduce our latest addition – a state of the art CBVT machine. This allows us to take and view x-rays in 3D – a revolution in dental diagnosis and treatment!

We thought we would take this opportunity to give our patients a little lesson in x-rays!

How safe are X-rays and what can they see?

Let’s start with an interesting fact. The X in X-ray stands for ‘unknown’. ‘X’ being used in mathematics to indicate an unknown quantity. Although, we now know a lot more about them – they have retained the original name suggesting mystery or enigma. X-rays, also known as radiographs, are an essential part of any dental care treatment plan.

Everyone on the planet is exposed to a certain amount of radiation as they go about their daily lives without even knowing. We can find radioactive material naturally within the air, soil, water, rocks, and vegetation.

Additionally, the Earth is constantly bombarded by cosmic radiation, which includes X-rays. These rays are not harmless, but they are unavoidable, and the radiation is at such low levels that its effects are virtually unnoticed.

Pilots, cabin crew, and astronauts are at more risk of higher doses because of the increased exposure to cosmic rays at altitude. In the dental world, they can show us certain defects that can’t always be seen with an examination alone. These include:

  • Decay interproximal (between teeth)
  • Condition of fillings, crowns, bridges, and root canals
  • Bone loss and periodontal disease
  • Impacted wisdom teeth
  • Impacted or missing teeth
  • Maxilla / Mandibula relationship
  • Abscess/cysts
  • Sinuses
  • Infection

But what’s the catch?

X-rays can be harmful if overexposed which can cause mutations in our DNA and, therefore, might lead to cancer later in life. For this reason, X-rays are classified as a carcinogen. That being said, the benefits of X-ray technology far outweigh the potential negative consequences of using them.

The fact that X-rays have been used in medicine for such a significant length of time shows how beneficial they are considered to be. Although an X-ray alone is not always enough to diagnose a disease or condition, they are an essential part of the diagnostic process, especially when it comes to dentistry.

The dentists at Bellevue Hill Dental all follow the Australian Dental Guidelines when it comes to exposing x-rays to ensure you as a patient are protected and exposed to the least possible radiation yet achieving the maximum diagnostic benefit.



With a range of x-rays available including the latest technology with our CBVT machine, you can be sure that our team are using the safest and most effective forms of x-rays to diagnose any of your suspected problems.

If you have any questions about what X-ray systems or our new CBVT machine, please feel free to ask our dentists on your next visit.

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