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Dental Radiographs:  Numbers for Thought

Dental radiographs or x-rays always seem to be a hot topic in health discussions.  The major questions asked about x-rays include:  Are x-rays really necessary?  And what are the potential side effects?
Dental x-rays are an extremely important key in diagnosis.  They show the dentists everything from buildup below the gum line, to decay in between the teeth that cannot be seen in the mouth, to infection or abscess at the root tip of a tooth.  X-rays can also help diagnose cysts and tumors.
The main concern the public has with dental x-rays is the amount of radiation associated with the films.  Our office uses digital radiography which significantly reduces the amount of radiation used.  Here are some numbers from the American Nuclear Society to put the radiation amount used into perspective:
Exposure to Radiation is measured in Millirems (mrem).  0.1 mrem is what the exposure would be from 1 dental x-ray.  You are exposed to 5 mrem just on 1 coast to coast round trip plane ride, 35 mrem during 1 year of regular sunlight and other cosmic radiation, 40 mrem in water and food for 1 year, 228 mrem for 1 year of normal breathing, and 1,000 mrem from a full body CT scan. 

As you can conclude, the radiation exposure from dental x-rays are at an absolute minimum level.  So you can rest easy the next time we tell you that you are due for your routine dental x-rays.
Keep smiling!!

– from JJ K. (Dental Assistant)

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