MEASURING THE SAFETY OF DENTAL X-RAYS
Occasionally, we find patients who are apprehensive about being exposed to dental x-rays. That is understandable considering the typical inaccuracy of the sensationalist journalism that sporadically reports on the subject. We offer this comparison to hopefully ease any concerns our patients might have. Feel free to ask as many questions as you would like.
uSv (dose in microsieverts)
0.1 Eating one banana (from the potassium it contains)
0.2 Single digital dental x-ray, periapical or bitewing view
1.4 Series of 7 digital x-ray bitewing views
3.6 Full mouth set of 18 digital x-ray periapical and bitewing views
34-68 i-Cat Cone Beam 3D CT-scan (# depends on scan parameters) Cone Beam CT-Scanners
are classified by the FDA as having no to minimal risk.
60 Medical frontal or lateral chest x-ray
70 One-week background dose at average elevation in the U.S. (78uSv per week if at elevation of Colorado plateau.) Keep in mind that background radiation exposes the entire body, while dental and medical x-rays reach only the parts of our bodies seen the in the x-ray image.
70 Additional dose from living in a stone, brick, or concrete building for one year
80 Round-trip airplane flight New York to Los Angeles
400 Yearly dose from natural potassium in the body
700 Medical x-ray of the abdomen
2,000 Medical CT-scan of the head
3,600 One-year background dose at average elevation in the U.S.
8,000 Medical CT-scan of the chest
10,000 Medical CT-scan of the abdomen
10,000 Exposure from cooking with natural gas every day (from radon) for one year
13,000 Smoking one pack of cigarettes per day for one year
16,000 Coronary angiogram
50,000 Radiation worker one-year dose limit set by the U.S. National
Council on Radiation Exposure, and the U.S. FDA
100,000 Lowest one-year dose clearly linked to increased risk of any cancer
Pregnancy: The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has stated that concerns about possible effects of radiation exposure should not prevent x-rays from being performed during pregnancy. In addition to there being a minimal dose in the x-ray viewing area, x-rays do not go around corners and inadvertently go to other areas. There is absolutely no measurable radiation outside the viewing area, and there is absolutely ZERO biological risk to a developing embryo or fetus.