X-Ray Radiation: The Safety of Dental X-Rays

X-Ray Radiation: The Safety of Dental X-Rays ExplainedI am asked daily about the safety of dental x-rays and this is always regarding the use of radiation to obtain the images. I assure people that the level of radiation is slight and relatively insignificant. Modern dental imaging and the advent of digital sensors has resulted in the need for so little radiation as to render the relative risk insignificant. I would like to take this opportunity to present two examples of why the radiation exposure is insignificant:

1. The assistants in our office wear badges that measure the amount of ionizing radiation they are exposed to. This is to ensure that there is no risk to them as they are around X-ray equipment daily and therefore at a greater risk of exposure. The badges are sent in for analysis regularly and a report is generated detailing how much radiation was present and what risk category the wearer is in. For the years that we have used these badges they have always generated a report of radiation exposure that doesn’t even register during analysis.

2. The Oregon Health Authority recently ruled that dental offices are no longer required to use lead blankets while taking X-rays. Yes, you read that right! The amount of radiation is so minimal the use of a protective barrier is not indicated as a safety feature. The exceptions are for patients who are pregnant and the use of a lead thyroid shield for children as these are a higher risk group. Of course, we will have the barriers available and use them as it increases patient comfort and helps with peace of mind.

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