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Dental Radiation and Your Health

Last week’s posting touched briefly on whether radiation from dental X-rays is detrimental to your health. This week we want to discuss this topic a bit more in depth and hopefully address any of your concerns. During a routine exam most people receive four bitewing X-rays, though panoramic dental X-rays, those which are obtained by the machine rotating around your entire head, are becoming more popular since they are much less invasive.

Ellis Dental X-Ray Bite

Ellis Dental X-Ray Bite

Four bitewing X-rays will give off around the standard amount of radiation received in a normal day. Sources of radiation for most people include being outdoors, standing next to an operating microwave oven, cooking with natural gas or living in a brick home. The panoramic X-ray produces about double that, which is still a very small amount compared to other X-rays taken.

The American Dental Association has specific guidelines on dental X-ray frequency. These recommendations address everything from new patient X-rays to the fact that for an established patient with no dental concerns, the need is less frequent. One major guideline that has been added over the years is in addition to the standard lead chest apron, a thyroid shield covering the neck should be used, especially in young children.

Radiation Exposure Chart
Radiation Exposure Chart

Bottom line is, and I think the majority of you will agree, the benefits of dental X-rays certainly outweigh the very small amount of radiation received; especially now that it has been proved certain dental conditions can cause serious overall health concerns.

Ellis Dental takes both your dental and physical health seriously and we welcome your comments and questions. Please call 314.695.1334 or check us out online for more information or to schedule your next appointment.