Digital Dental X-rays and Radiation Exposure

Digital radiography has been one of the most important new advances that the dental profession has seen in quite some time. In addition to significantly reducing the amount of radiation used and to improving the diagnostic ability of the x-ray image, the added elimination of the harsh chemicals used to process traditional film is a true benefit to the environment. Digital x-rays can also be easily emailed to several places with out ever losing the original image, which also saves time and postage.

A dental office switching from traditional film x-rays to digital ones can reduce radiation exposure by as much as 90%.  In our practice, when we switched several years ago, we were able to reduce our radiation by 80%. REDUCED BY 80%!!  And the quality of our images improved.  But still, just how much radiation is that??

Dental radiographs, or x-rays, are one of the lowest radiation dose studies performed. A “check-up” series of films (4 “bite wings, and 2 “PA’s”) uses about 0.005mSv, which is still less than one day of natural background radiation that we are all exposed to in our daily lives.  It is also equal to the amount of radiation one receives on a short (1-2 hours) airplane flight. In addition to which dental x-rays are very concentrated, using usually a cone to expose just the jaw area. This ultra-precise aim ensures that just a small part of the body is exposed to the already low dose of radiation. Lead aprons that cover the upper body and throat are used to prevent any minimal scatter from reaching them.

Dental x-rays are a safe and easy way for your dentist to better serve you. They help dentists diagnose common problems such as cavities, gum disease, infections, and even tumors and other disorders. X-rays allow the dentist to see inside a tooth and below the gums to better understand what issues are going on. Let your dentist know if you have any other questions or concerns, and as always, we look forward to seeing you soon!