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How Much Radiation Do You Get from Dental X-rays?

Dental x-ray is a safe process that exposes you to minimal radiation that would not cause harm. Read on to learn more about dental x-ray radiation exposure.

Dental x-ray radiation does not cause harm.

Most people understandably fear going for a dental x-ray mainly because of a lack of information over the amount of radiation involved. Contrary to the concerns expressed, you do not have to worry about the modern dental x-ray. You can best understand the safety of dental x-ray machines by looking at the radiation received from different sources. For example, eating a banana yields 0.1 µSc while a flight from NY to LA exposes you to 10 µSc radiation. Compare this to 0.2 µSc and 3.9 µSc ray units from single dental X-Ray and dental full mouth X-Ray, respectively. As you can see, dental x-rays yield relatively low radiation compared to other sources.

Here are some frequently asked questions regarding dental x-rays:

How much radiation do you get from dental x-rays?

When you visit your dentist for dental implants, root canal, or other vital dental procedures, the dentist may find it necessary to carry out the recommended type of x-ray.

When taking a single dental x-ray, you will get exposed to radiation of up to 0.2 µSc. A dental full-mouth x-ray has up to 3.9 µSc. The single dental x-ray captures a single tooth and has radiation exposure equating to one day. The panoramic x-ray covers the upper and lower jaws producing an exposure equivalent to two or three days of natural radiation. The modern digital x-ray medical imaging exposes individuals to lower radiation doses than before. Compared to most medical and natural radiation sources, dental imaging test has significantly lower ionizing radiation.

Are dental x-rays a lot of radiation?

When discussing dental x-rays, you will find it viable to compare with the exposure received after spending a day in the sun. Remember that our environments naturally have radiation. For instance, flying from Los Angeles to London could expose you to radiation equivalent to 10 days of natural radiation.

A CBCT machine at the dental office yields about 11 days of natural exposure, while an abdominal CT scan produces as much as three years of exposure. That means CT scan yields radiation 99% more than what you get from dental radiographs.

Dental x-rays do not produce too much radiation. However, that does not mean you should always go for the imaging procedures from time to time.

How many dental x-rays can I have in a year?

You cannot have an unlimited number of imaging procedures in a year. As much as panoramic dental x-ray rating is lower than other exposures, any amount of radiation is generally not good for your health. Thus, you want to make sure that you minimize the exposure as much as you can.

Dentists usually follow a general principle called "as low as reasonably achievable" (ALARA). That is, they will prescribe the least amount of radiation needed for the job.

Different professional bodies like the Radiological Society of North America and the Canadian Dental Association usually issue dental x-ray guidelines.

One such guideline suggests that an adult with proper dental care and oral health should take x-rays in an interval of 24 to 36 months.

Even with such guidelines, qualified and experienced dentists do not unreasonably subject their patients to radiation. Instead, they only order x-ray after a thorough clinical examination. That means the dentist will typically make a professional judgment to gauge the necessity of an x-ray.

Does radiation stay in the body forever?

As you search for which x-ray has the most radiation, you may wonder how long that radiation would stay in your body.

Radiation generally clears from the body after a few minutes or few days. For those who take nuclear medicine imaging, the radiation will stay in the body for a short time but eventually clear.

Some people may receive internal radiation therapy for some time. These individuals often stay in a private room to mitigate exposure to their loved ones.

How harmful are dental x-rays?

We have seen that dental x-rays have lower radiation doses compared to most other sources. That explains why so far, there have been no known risks linked to dental x-rays.

Despite the low radiation levels, dentists usually exercise caution not to expose the patient to a higher amount of radiation at the dental office. For this reason, you will typically find the dentist using unique high-speed film to cover you during these procedures.

Please keep in mind that dental x-rays are essential and safe. Thus, you should not stop your dentist from performing one where necessary just because of unfounded fears.

Do not forget that the exposure cumulates over time. For that reason, only receive doses within the recommended timeframe. Additionally, dentists should use approved 3d dental x rays systems to capture the 3d image.

How many CT scans can I safely take in a lifetime?

The risk of developing cancer from CT scans is so low that you cannot reliably measure it. Therefore, there are no official recommendations of the number of CT scans you can have.

These examinations form an essential part of your diagnosis and treatment. However, you should not just take them for the sake of it. Make sure that you only undergo an imaging exam under clear medical benefits.

Are dental x-rays harmful to children?

Sometimes it becomes necessary for children to undergo dental x-rays to reveal underlying dental issues. As a parent, you will naturally feel frightened when your child has to undergo this process. Luckily, modern technology has advanced to make this a safe operation.

Similarly, you can safely undergo a dental x-ray second trimester without negatively impacting the baby. That's because dental x-ray produces very low radiation. Additionally, an extra layer of protection makes the process safer for anyone receiving a dental x-ray.

Why choose Toronto Smile Design for Dental X-Ray?

Dr. Johnson Ozgur has the expertise to administer dental x-ray and reveal any underlying dental issues safely. As a Toronto Dentist with a Master's Degree in Oral Surgery, Dr. Johnson understands that most patients keenly pay attention to the amount of radiation received. Thus, he only advises it when you come in for operations like dental crowns or dental implants, among others, after determining potential benefits from the procedure. Contact Toronto Smile Design - Yorkville Dental today to schedule an appointment and discuss all your concerns regarding the dental x-ray.


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