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As a mom, you worry about everything. The commercial showing the mother who found her kid wrapped in bubble wrap? You don’t find it far-fetched. So it stands to reason that rumors, gossip, and news about dental x-rays causing brain tumors have you unnerved—particularly if your child is of an age where you are thinking about getting braces like Invisalign. That’s why the following scientific data can help reassure you that you’ve nothing to worry about—at least when it comes to dental x-rays.
Regular dental X-rays “can double or even triple the chance of developing a common type of brain tumor,” according to The Daily Telegraph. This news is based on a large US study comparing the dental histories of people who had a brain tumor known as intracranial meningioma with a group of similar people who did not have tumors. People with brain tumors were twice as likely to report having had a specific type of dental X-ray called a “bitewing” in their lifetime, compared with people without a brain tumor. Bitewings are a common type of X-ray, where patients bite down on a small holder containing X-ray film.
Firstly, what didn’t make the headlines was that the same study showed that having a series of full-mouth X-rays was not associated with any increased risk of brain tumor, which throws doubt on the proposed link between dental X-rays and brain tumor. Furthermore, participants reported their own history of X-rays rather than researchers checking their dental records. This means people with brain tumors may have been focusing on the potential causes of their cancer and therefore may have been more likely to recall dental X-rays than people without one, potentially biasing the results.
Most importantly though, the chance of developing a brain tumor is very small and, even if X-rays can double the risk, it would still be a very rare event. According to one academic quoted in the press, this doubling of risk actually translated into just a 0.07% increase in lifetime risk, once the overall rarity of brain tumors was taken into account
While this study suggests that dental X-rays may be linked to a brain tumor, it falls short of proving an actual link. It is known that exposure to ionizing radiation is linked to cancer (which is why X-ray use is kept to a minimum), but people should not be alarmed by today’s sensationalist headlines and should not be dissuaded from having dental X-rays when recommended by their dentist.
Why You Need Dental X-Rays
Dental X-rays are a useful diagnostic tool when helping your orthodontist detect damage and disease not visible during a regular exam. X-rays, also known as radiographs, capture images of the parts of your mouth your dentist can’t see. That’s because hard tissues like bones and teeth absorb more radiation than softer gum and cheek tissues, creating a picture that clearly shows differences between these types of tissue. What does all that mean? Your orthodontist can use X-ray technology to uncover the deepest, darkest secrets of your mouth – decay, gum disease, infection, tooth cracks, bone loss and other problems that aren’t visible to the eye.
Are you Pregnant?
Accordingly, make sure to tell your dentist. During your pregnancy, for some reason, you may need to have X-rays taken as part of your treatment plan. Use of the leaded apron and thyroid collar will protect you and your fetus from radiation exposure. Dental X-rays do not need to be delayed if you are trying to become pregnant or are breastfeeding.
Contact Us Today for an Appointment
Nothing is going to change about your smile until you take action. Call today to learn more about what the best orthodontist in Nashville TN can offer you. Enjoy the professional and inviting atmosphere at Gluck Orthodontics as you are welcomed into the office. Thus, Doctor Gluck and his staff will strive to make you comfortable. He and they will keep you well-informed about all of your orthodontic options.
Finally, remember that your choice to have orthodontic treatment will give you a boost of confidence and make your smile shine. You’ll also be able to have better oral hygiene and avoid problems like TMJ disorders due to a poor bite or misalignment of your teeth. Dr. Gluck is here for you to bring out the best in your smile. Make your appointment today with Dr. Joel Gluck Dr. Jonathan Gluck.
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2002 Richard Jones Road
Nashville, TN 37215
Do Dental X-rays Really Cause Brain Tumors?
Dr. Joel Gluck has practiced orthodontics since 1983 when he opened his own office in Nashville. He earned his undergraduate degree at Washington University in St. Louis, and his dental degree at the University of Tennessee. Dr. Gluck then completed an orthodontic specialty residency at the University of Michigan, one of the top five orthodontic training residencies in the country. He also wrote an original thesis and received a Master of Science degree.