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Dispelling The Dental X-Ray Myth

Growing up, you may remember having your teeth x-rayed. You receive a lead apron, the dental assistants leave the room as the x-ray is taken, and you get to see your teeth from a different perspective. Over time, as you learn more about the technology behind x-rays, radiation, and the dangers of radiation exposure, you think back to those times with the lead apron and wonder how safe it was. However, the Hamilton Dental team can confirm that dental x-rays use a low level of radiation compared to other daily encounters. 

Radiology and health experts use the ALARA rule when dealing with x-rays. ALARA stands for “as low as reasonably achievable.” Following ALARA is done so that x-ray technicians, doctors, and dentists can still get the information they need from x-rays without placing their patients at an outsized risk. Going about your day to day life, we are exposed to radiation from a variety of sources. These sources often expose us to higher levels of radiation than a dental x-ray. 

How much radiation the human body absorbs is measured in Microsieverts. Undergoing 4 “bitewing” x-rays during a routine dental check-up registers .005mSv. The .005mSv ranks lower than a flight from New York City to Los Angeles (.035mSv), natural background radiation (.031 mSv), and even certain foods we eat (bananas .1mSV)! While you are given the lead apron for additional protection, the actual radiation that generates from the bitewing x-rays do not present an immediate threat to you or your children undergoing a dental check-up at your children’s orthodontist in Mercer County, NJ

Radiation exposure is a natural part of everyday life. Humans are exposed to 6.2mSv of radiation on average per year. Half of this exposure comes from naturally occurring sources in the environment, and the other half comes from human-made sources, such as from medical, industrial, and commercial uses. A minuscule portion of this exposure comes from routine dental x-rays.

With this in mind, you can rest assured that any x-ray we take at Hamilton Dental Associates is safe for you and your children. To set up an appointment for a regular dental check-up, or to adjust traditional or clear braces in the Mercer County, NJ area, contact Hamilton Dental today and schedule a visit!