There has been a lot of discussion about the safety of dental bitewing x-rays lately. A study was recently published which linked bitewing x-rays to an increased risk of getting a benign brain tumor called meningioma. This study did not employ the scientific method to its investigation of facts and is questionable on many levels, including:
1. The study relied on patients’ memories for the patients’ dental histories years earlier
2. The study did not have documented dates and radiation exposure levels for patients
3. The study included patients who received the x-rays in the 1960’s when radiation levels were higher and the film speed was slower
We now have digital x-rays, which use up to 80% less radiation than current film x-rays. The bottom line for all of our patients is that we consider digital bitewing x-rays safe. One digital bitewing x-ray exposes you to less radiation than you get on a plane flight. Dental x-rays are a valuable tool in allowing us to treat oral health problems in the early stage and are still recommended by the American Dental Association. If you have concerns about digital x-rays, please let us know and we will discuss them with you. We will never recommend any treatment for you that we do not feel is necessary or that would not be in your best interest.