Dental X-Ray Safety: A Walk In the Park

child-dental-xrayX-Rays Are Safe and Important for Oral Health

People often wonder about dental x-ray safety. Easy question – it’s about exactly as safe as a walk in the park. We’ll explain that more later. First we want to make one thing absolutely clear.

We would never recommend something that was unsafe for our patients.

X-rays are vital diagnostic tools that are as important as your daily dental care routine and your semi-annual preventative cleanings.

Understanding Dental X-Ray Safety Comparisons

According to RadiologyInfo™, the public information website developed and funded by the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) and the American College of Radiology (ACR):

“We are exposed to natural sources of radiation all the time. According to recent estimates, the average person in the U.S. receives an effective dose of about 3 mSv per year from natural radiation, which includes cosmic radiation from outer space.”

The radiation from dental x-rays we take once a year for most patients, commonly referred to as bitewing x-rays, add up to the equivalent of an afternoon in the park, or just over half the natural radiation from an average day just being in the cosmos.

It’s also significantly less than the security scanners at the airport or a few hours on a normal flight, so you should feel at least as confident about dental x-ray safety.

Why Not to Worry about Dental X-Ray Safety

There are two important reasons that dental x-ray safety should not be a concern for our patients.

  1. The risk of not catching a problem below the surface, like cavities, tooth decay, bone loss, constrained space for adult teeth to grow, and even tumors, is much greater than any risk related to radiation. If you skip the x-ray and instead wait for symptoms, the health risks go up, as do the cost and potential pain of fixing the problem. As described above, risk related to the x-ray itself is less than cross-country flight, or even any given day. 
  2. Even though the risks are minimal, we still take every possible precaution. That means limiting the risk of “scatter radiation” to patients and staff to be “as low as reasonably achievable” (also known as ALARA). You’ll recognize the lead apron/bib that we place over you during the x-ray process. Just like kryptonite, lead prevents any harmful radiation from getting to the other side.

Schedule Your Appointment to Keep Up With Your Preventative Dental Care

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Dental X-Ray Safety: A Walk In the Park was last modified: September 29th, 2020 by Palos Heights Family Dental