Diseases Cancer

About the Chance Of Having Cancer After Having Dental X-Rays


At times it becomes very difficult to resist the pain one feels due to a toothache. In such cases when dentists check your teeth, sometimes they recommend an x-ray to better see what might be causing this pain. It may be a penetrating cavity or a problem that needs a root canal. But an important question that crosses several minds is if dental X-ray can cause cancer. X-ray is a radiation that has been said to cause cancer after a lot of exposure to it. In dental radiology a person is expected to get the X-ray of their teeth and the area surrounding them, mostly tissue to find out the problem he or she is facing. The chances of cancer after an X-ray test are minimal but if these tests are taken consistently, chances might increase.


How can a person get cancer after X-rays? This can be understood by the fact that when X rays pass through our body they produce ions that can destroy and injure the DNA. This destruction of DNA is one reason that causes cancer. An interesting observation is the fact that radiation is also used in the treatment of cancer. But radiation of low potency is used in X rays whereas to cure cancer the radiation that is applied over the tumor is highly potent. One must also know that Ultrasound and MRI don’t cause cancer as an ultrasound uses sound waves and the latter uses magnetic fields to scan our body.


There is always a chance of cancer after a person undergoes a prolonged exposure to radiation. Radiation in large amounts near your mouth can cause a person to suffer from thyroid cancer. This may only occur if a person is exposed to radiations from the X-ray machines for a very long time period. If a person is simply asked by the dentist to get an X-ray done, there is no reason for them to worry about cancer as the radiations used in dental radiology are not potent. Therefore it is decided that radiation exposure does increase the chances of cancer and the risk increases as exposure to radiation increases. Children that are exposed to X rays in their childhood in considerable amounts have more chances of developing thyroid cancer later in life. It is advised by medical authorities that X-rays should be carried out in a small number and that if the need does arise, a person should always try to get X-rays done quickly and not many together as it is likely to cause cancer.

Tips and comments

One should try their best to avoid getting X-rays done if the doctor can carry out their diagnosis without it. Even though X-ray radiation is very insignificant and so quick that there is a very little or no chance of a person getting cancer after the procedure, it is advised to try avoiding the risk. Therefore one must know that any kind of X-ray that is prolonged and has to be done a number of times is considered dangerous.

By Maryam Cheema, published at 02/24/2012
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