Safety First

Exposing the Truth about Dental X-rays and Radiation Exposure

It’s a fact that dental diseases plague everyone whether it’s a gum tissue condition or a cavity. Finding and treating problems like these at an early stage can not only save you time, money and suffering, but it may even save your life.

Dental x-rays are one of the most important tools a dentist can use to help discover and diagnose diseases of the teeth, mouth and surrounding tissues. An x-ray exam may reveal:
  • Decay between the teeth or below existing fillings
  • Infections in the bone
  • Infections in the teeth
  • Bone loss or periodontal disease
  • Abscesses or cysts
  • Bony growths
  • Impacted teeth
  • Developmental abnormalities
  • Some types of tumors

Although no one wants to expose themselves to unnecessary extra radiation, you and the dental practitioner must weigh the negatives against the positives. The average radiation dose per person per year is about 3.6 mSV or miliSieverts. This is from all sources including the air, our food and water intake, the minerals around us, etc . . . The international standard for the Maximum Permissible Dose is 50 mSv per year. This is the maximum dose of radiation that the body is permitted to receive in a period of time with little or no injury.

A traditional film full-mouth series of dental x-rays emits .01 mSv of radiation with bitewings being about 0.005mSv. This is among the lowest radiation dose exams of any diagnostic radiographic procedure. If the office has a digital x-ray imaging system, the additional reduction in radiation is usually around 90 percent! Almost nothing.

To ensure additional patient safety, many barriers have been put into place. X-ray machines automatically restrict the beam size and reduce dose and radiation scatter. Lead aprons are used to absorb 90 percent of whatever radiation scatter is left and cover vital patient organs.

The guidelines for X-rays vary from dental office to dental office. It is not uncommon to expect check up x-rays annually and a full-mouth series every 3 – 5 years.

Get a Second Opinion, No Stress

The dental office is always a nerve racking place. We go because we want to stay healthy and keep our teeth. It is less nerve racking when you have a good relationship with your doctor and office staff. But what do you do if that relationship and history hasn’t been established? Do you go forward […]

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What is Your Dental Hygienist Doing?

In the face of growing dental technology it’s important not to get caught up with wow factors, gimmicks, or the latest trends when it comes to cleanings. A good hygienists’ primary goal is to help preserve the health of your mouth despite the neat-o tools available. Not that the latest and greatest isn’t out there, […]

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