Most people are familiar with having dentals x-rays taken periodically at dental visits and recognize the benefits of a dental x-ray examination. Occasionally someone still asks me if these X-rays are “safe”. The short answer Is “yes”, but some explanation may be more helpful.
First, dental X-rays involve a fraction of the amount of radiation delivered versus a medical X-ray. Radiation delivered for a treatment purpose, such as targeting cancerous cells in the body (as opposed to X-rays taken for diagnostic purposes), deliver many times more radiation than is required in a dental exam. For example, the amount of radiation one receives for dental purposes is often compared to the amount a person would receive from the environment after spending a sunny day at the beach or after a plane flight at 39,000 feet.
Second, only a small part of the body is typically exposed to a dental X-ray, with the rest often protected by a lead lined shield.
Third, the American Dental Association has instituted a safety protocol referred to as ALARA (As Low As Reasonably Allowable),which offers guidance in minimizing the dosage of radiation needed in specific situations.
Fourth, Pennsylvania requires regular inspection and registration for all X-ray machines (including dental X-rays equipment) to guarantee the public’s safety.
And lastly, many scientific organizations have developed recommendations or regulations on the proper, safe and effective use of X-rays in dentistry, including the Center for Devices and Radiological Health of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the American Dental Association as I mentioned, the American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology, and the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements.
Therefore, as you can see, a lot of people are concerned with your safety with respect to the use of dental X-rays so that you can relax more and enjoy your visit!
See you soon at the office! If you have any questions in the meantime, you can contact me or the staff at my office, Dr. Laurence Stone in Doylestown, PA to discuss any concerns you may have regarding dental x-rays.