Are you concerned about the safety of dental x-rays? Wondering how much radiation is in a digital dental x-ray?
How Much Radiation Is In a Dental X-Ray?
Radiation is measured in units called microsieverts. The dose of exposure to a dental x-ray depends on the extent of the x-rays. If you have a full mouth series of 18 images, you are exposed to more radiation than when you have a bite wing x-ray, which is just four images.
Full mouth dental x-rays have an average of 34.9 microsieverts, while bite wing x-rays have about 5 microsieverts.
How Do Dental X-Ray Doses Compare to Other Sources?
Every day, we’re exposed to radiation. Natural sources such as soil, air, and radon provide an average of about 3,100 microsieverts per year. That’s about 8.5 microsieverts per day. What’s more, we’re exposed to about 17 microsieverts per day in total (from natural and manmade sources).
That means that full mouth x-rays provide the equivalent of four days of natural radiation or two days of all radiation. In other words, of all radiation sources, dental x-rays are minimal.
For comparison, a chest x-ray delivers 100 microsieverts and a mammography gives a dose of 400 microsieverts.
Moreover, today’s digital x-rays have greatly reduced the dose of radiation exposure. Modern equipment produces only 80% of the radiation of yesteryear.
Are Dental X-Rays Needed?
Dental x-rays allow the early detection, diagnosis, and treatment of dental problems. We’re able to detect oral health issues such as dark areas of decay and even bone loss or tooth erosion.
Dr. Douglas Pennino of Pennino Family Dentistry in Barrington, IL, says, “If you have concerns about x-ray radiation exposure, feel free to talk to us. Our goal is to improve your oral health without causing any undue risk to your general health.”