How Much Radiation Are You Exposed To During A Dental X-Ray?

Among the most frequently asked questions by our patients is related to x-rays.  Almost everyone understands the dangers associated with radiation.  Hence, it is logical to want to know how many times you can get dental x-rays per year.  At Michelle Wang DDS, we take only the necessary x-rays needed in order to properly diagnose and treat your oral health.

Modern Digital X-rays

Sometimes patients are given information about x-rays that is inaccurate or outdated.  In times past, nearly every dentist used traditional film x-rays. At Michelle Wang DDS, we use digital intraoral sensors, which require 75% to 90% less radiation dose than traditional films to produce an image.

Digital x-rays require minuscule amounts of radiation to produce an image— about 0.9 to 3.9 mrem. In fact, you receive more radiation from things you may not imagine.  For example, the following items will expose you to more radiation than our digital x-rays:

  • A day trip to the Grand Canyon (1.2 mrem)
  • A flight from Redlands to New York (about 40 mrem)
  • Living in a brick apartment building for one year (70 mrem)

According to the American Nuclear Society, the average dose of radiation per American is 620 mrem per year.  It would take over 115 full mouth dental x-rays to reach that amount.

Why Do You Need An X-Ray?

Dental x-rays are used as a diagnostic tool to aid in the accurate diagnosis of tooth problems.  X-rays allow the dentist to “see” areas in between the teeth or under the gum tissues that cannot be seen visually.  Most patients require a small set of dental x-rays once every 12 to 24 months as a standard of care

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