Most of us are familiar with dental x-rays because they are quite common during routine dental appointments. These x-rays allow your dentist to see deep beneath your gums, to the roots of your teeth. Despite the prevalence of individuals receiving this imaging, some remain concerned because x-rays do use radiation to achieve their results. Rest assured, dental x-rays are safe! We will delve into the why below.
How Much Radiation is in an X-ray?
As knowledge and technology progressed, the amount of radiation used, and patient exposure to it decreased dramatically. In order to put the radiation exposure during x-rays into perspective, let’s compare it to other common sources.
A single dental x-ray has 0.1 mrem of radiation, so completing 4 bitewings would lead to 0.4 mrem of exposure.
Compare that to:
- Smoking cigarettes – 1,300 mrem/year
- Natural radiation from soil – 35 mrem/year
- International flight – 2 to 4 mrem
- Drinking water – 5 mrem/year
As you can see above, radiation exposure is impossible to completely eliminate from your life. So, while dental x-rays do expose you to radiation, the benefits deriving from that x-ray certainly outweigh the negatives.
Who Should NOT Get X-rays?
Pregnant individuals should avoid dental x-rays until they are no longer pregnant because fetuses are more susceptible to radiation problems than adults. Also, young children may be vulnerable to radiation concerns as well due to their cells dividing rapidly.
As always, please consult your dental provider with concerns regarding dental x-rays and radiation. Here at Krengel Dental we believe in comprehensive care and are happy to answer any questions you may have. Contact us here!