X-rays use a small dose of radiation to create pictures of the inside of the body.

X-ray of Teeth
Jaw x-ray teeth
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Possible Complications

There are no direct complications associated with getting an x-ray. However, the effects of repeated radiation doses may build up in the body over a lifetime, increasing the risk of some cancers or thyroid problems. The risk is higher in children and women who are of childbearing age or pregnant. Protective lead aprons and collars are used to reduce radiation exposure.

Some tests and medical treatments cannot and should not be avoided. Talk to your dentist and doctor about the risks and benefits associated with the x-ray.



This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.

Edits to original content made by Denver Health.


Food and Drug Administration http://www.fda.gov 

Radiology Info—Radiological Society of North America http://www.radiologyinfo.org 


Canadian Association of Radiologists http://www.car.ca 

Canadian Institute for Health Information http://www.cihi.ca 


Patient safety: radiation dose. Radiological Society of North America Radiology Info website. Available at: http://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/safety/index.cfm?pg=sfty%5Fxray&bhcp=1. Accessed. Updated August 10, 2014. Accessed March 21, 2016.

Reducing radiation from medical x-rays. Food and Drug Administration website. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm095505.htm. Accessed March 21, 2016.

X-ray (radiography). Radiological Society of North America Radiology Info website. Available at: http://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/submenu.cfm?pg=xray. Accessed March 21, 2016.

X-rays. American Dental Association Mouth Healthy website. Available at: http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/x/x-rays. Accessed March 21, 2016.