Radiography of Women Who are, or Think
They May be, Pregnant (for patients)

If you are pregnant or a person close to you is pregnant and referred to an X-ray examination, it is understandable that you are worried about possible damage to the foetus that may be caused by ionising radiation. Sometimes a woman may have an X-ray examination but only later discover she was pregnant at the time.

The important thing to recognise for dental X-ray examinations, however, is that the abdomen is never in the primary X-ray beam. Although some X-rays are scattered in all directions, the level reaching the abdomen and a developing baby is so small that, in accordance with international guidelines, the risk for the foetus is deemed negligible.

Pregnancy should not be a contraindication for an X-ray examination in dentistry, and a pregnant woman will be referred to imaging when the dentist assesses that the benefit for the pregnant woman is greater than the potential detriment for the foetus which postponement of imaging until after the birth of the child might result in or if there are no alternative techniques that do not involve ionising radiation. An example of when a dentist might refer a pregnant woman to an X-ray examination are urgencies such as dental trauma and toothache.

If you are pregnant and referred to an X-ray examination of teeth or jaw, the imaging should be carried out in such a way as to minimize the foetus’ potential exposure to radiation. International guidelines even state that there is no need to use a lead protective apron on the pregnant woman’s stomach, but since Croatian regulations still stipulate its use, the foetus will be additionally protected.

Of course, you always have the right to refuse an X-ray examination, but we hope that this information has given you some reassurance.  If you are pregnant, or think you could be, speak to your dentist, who will give you additional information and advice.

When carrying out medical X-ray examinations that involve pregnant patients, it is necessary to consult a medical physics expert regarding the optimization.

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