Can You Get X-Rays At The Dentist While Pregnant?

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Medically reviewed by Othman Lahmaydi, RDH

Pregnancy can spark all sorts of concerns, even when it comes to routine medical procedures. After all, anything done to the mother’s body can impact the fetus as well. You may have been told that your baby can be endangered by X-rays taken during pregnancy. So, does that mean you should get X-rays at the dentist while pregnant?

It is generally safe to get a dental X-ray during pregnancy, as long as the proper shielding is used. The radiation produced by one diagnostic X-ray is relatively insignificant. Nonetheless, many women chose to postpone X-rays until after the birth, if possible, just to prevent any risk.

One reason why many pregnant women are reluctant about getting a dental X-ray is the fear of radiation exposure. However, these days, the exposure you get from an X-ray is very minimal — you can get more from airports, driving, or even sunlight! Still, deciding if the procedure is worth it can be tough. Let’s take a closer look at the safety of X-rays during pregnancy so that you can make an educated decision about how to proceed.

Is It Safe to Get an X-Ray During Pregnancy?

Woman having dental xray

It is considered safe to get dental X-rays during pregnancy, though you should discuss any upcoming procedures with your dentist. You may decide to wait until after the birth if the X-ray isn’t urgent.

Very little radiation is used during a dental X-ray, and the American Pregnancy Association and American Dental Association both report that this amount cannot pose any danger to an unborn child or its mother.

Besides that, an additional layer of protection is provided to ensure an even safer process for anyone who wants to get a dental X-ray. If you’ve had a dental X-ray before, you may recall that the hygienist or dentist put a heavy apron on you before they turned on the X-ray machine. This apron is leaded and made to ensure minimal radiation exposure.

The length of the apron can cover the abdomen, meaning that the baby is kept safe during the X-ray.

Are All X-Rays Safe While Pregnant?

X-rays vary from one to another, but most will hardly expose the uterus or a developing fetus. Your reproductive organs are not exposed to the direct beam during X-ray exams on the chest, arms, or legs.

However, the uterus is at greater risk of exposure during X-rays of the kidneys, lower back, pelvis, stomach, and abdomen.

Always inform your healthcare provider that you’re pregnant before you get an X-ray.

Talk to Your Dentist About Dental X-Rays While Pregnant

Pregnant woman at the dentist

In most cases, dental X-rays are not done on pregnant women unless the patient is in pain and in dire need of an X-ray for diagnostic reasons. That is one instance where the benefits begin to outweigh the risks.

After all, one of those things that can help you stay healthy during pregnancy is to maintain your oral health, and early signs of gum disease and tooth decay can be detected in a dental X-ray. Still, you should inform your dentist that you’re pregnant and discuss the options with them.

If you’re going to get dental work done, then the second trimester is considered the best time to get it done.

For any other inquiries about pregnancy and oral health, consult your dentist.

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