How Much Radiation Do You Get From A Dental X-Ray?

how much radiation exposure from dental x-ray

Have you ever wondered why your dentist gave you a lead apron to put on or why all of the other staff step out of the room each time you need a dental X-ray? If you did, you’re at the right place! 

Dental X-rays make use of radiations to produce images of the interiors of your mouth. These shots are used by the dentists to identify dental problems like cavities, tooth decays and impacted teeth. 

Digital X-Rays Use Lower Amounts Of Radiation 

Luckily, getting dental x-rays today is very safe. Modern medicine and new techniques have simplified the process and digital X-rays need less radiation to capture a high resolution image than traditional X-rays that were used a few decades ago. 

The only reason why the dental team steps outside or stays away is because of the risk of gradual exposure that accumulates day after day throughout their career. That is why they are always seen in aprons. 

Depending on the type of equipment, film and image being taken, there is an estimated reduction in the exposure by up to 90%. This is why a one-time exposure to the dental X-rays isn’t problematic. 

Thinking of possibly avoiding dental X-rays and the tiny amount of radiation exposure contains an important trade off. That’s because diagnostic imaging allows dentists to look inside and check the oral health of your tooth structures. 

Knowing and diagnosing them as early as possible makes the problems less invasive and the treatment becomes more cost effective. Otherwise, such problems cannot be detected until they reach an advanced stage, which, in turn, requires more aggressive repair treatments. 

Amount Of Background Radiation We Receive 

We are exposed to radiation every day. We receive radiation from the sun, our cellphones and even on the airplane- the longer the airplane ride, the higher the amount of radiation you are exposed to! 

But during X-ray checks for your body once a year, the amount of radiation you are exposed to is only 0.005mSv (micro Sieverts), which is less than the average daily dose of radiation you are exposed to everyday. 

To put this into perspective for you, consider these comparisons: 

● Going through an airport security scanner 80 times is the equivalent of a single day of casual radiation exposure. 

● 1,000 times equals the amount of radiation used for a chest X-ray. 

● An average 7-hour plane ride exposes each passenger to approximately 0.02 mSv (or 16 small dental X-rays) 

Importance Of Lead Aprons 

Occupational radiation exposure could be reduced by the use of lead aprons at the workplace. Hence, the usage of Lead apron as radiation protection shields has been ever-increasing. 

Radiology departments and other health experts believe in the idea of, “as low as reasonably achievable”. This implies limiting the risk of scattering radiations to staff and patients. While the scatter radiation is minimal, it cannot penetrate lead aprons. 

That’s why lead aprons are used as a protective shield for tissues that are most sensitive to radiation along with the thyroid gland and the reproductive organs. While the potential risk is extremely low, the apron essentially prevents radiation exposure to other parts of the body that are a greater concern. 

X-ray apron manufacturers always prioritize the customer’s needs in terms of high protection, comfort and good fabric quality. Aprons are designed with high-quality core materials that are excellent for those of us who are at the risk of gradual and daily exposure. With proper care, these aprons can last many years and be very comfortable when used correctly. 

One of the factors in choosing the right apron deals with the personality. Several manufacturers have updated and upgraded their fabric choices so that everybody has something to choose from. 

Radiation protection aprons have come a long way the past 15 years and have proven to be very useful in providing proper shielding from radiation. Medical workers and dental technicians need to practice the right safety and precautionary measures to keep themselves and their patients safe.

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