If you have to make an after-hours appointment at a dentist because you have a problem with your teeth, the dentist you see may have to quickly assess the nature of your emergency. In some cases, this may obvious; however, in other cases, the dentist may feel that an X-ray is needed to work out the exact source of the problem. For most people, this isn't an issue, but, if you're pregnant, you may worry about any adverse effects the X-ray may have on your baby. Is this a problem?
Dental X-Rays and Pregnancy
Dentists may try to routinely avoid X-raying pregnant women, especially in the early stages of pregnancy, just to be on the safe side. In an emergency situation, however, the need to have an X-ray may outweigh this norm.
For your peace of mind, it's worth remembering that the levels of radiation in dental X-rays are typically far lower than those emitted by other types of X-ray. They are so low, in fact, that you would be exposed to the same levels of radiation if you took a short air flight. Plus, your dentist should take steps to give you and your baby some added protection by having you wear a lead apron or guard over your bump while the X-ray is being taken.
Do You Really Need an X-ray?
Make sure that your after-hours dentist knows that you are pregnant so that they can take this into consideration before assessing your emergency and recommending treatment. If your dentist recommends an X-ray and you aren't sure whether to go ahead, ask if the X-ray is essential.
Typically, dentists won't do this procedure on pregnant women unless they really need to, and your dentist should be happy to explain why an X-ray might be necessary. This may actually be down to how your dental emergency might affect your pregnancy as much as sorting out your current problem. For example, if it looks like you have an infection like an abscess, then your dentist may be keen to confirm the diagnosis with an X-ray on the basis that an infection may not be good for you or your baby.
Given that you've taken an emergency after-hours appointment, the chances are that you have a serious dental issue and/or pain. If you need an X-ray to sort out the problem and possibly to avoid other problems with your pregnancy later, then it's worth biting the bullet and getting the right kind of treatment.