Dental X-rays emit a very low level of radiation, and are considered to be safe. Dr. Alin Alkass notes that there is always some risk where radiation is concerned, even at low levels. However, because X-rays enable early detection of gum disease, tooth decay and other serious dental health issues, the benefit is considered to outweigh any potential harm. Digital X-rays, which Dr. Alkass uses, emit even less radiation and much more clarity and resolution than traditional X-rays. Most dental offices use a lead apron to protect the abdomen and chest from exposure, and some offer leaded thyroid covers as well. Let your dentist know if you are pregnant: Some practitioners won’t X-ray pregnant women if there’s no urgent need.