When bringing in a new patient to their practice, or when analyzing a patient that hasn’t visited their facility in over a year, most dental professionals will ask that the patient undergoes digital x-rays. These digital x-rays help the dentist understand the condition of the patient’s teeth. They can pinpoint potential health issues and provide a foundation for the patient’s future treatment regimen. However, many patients are now concerned about the level of radiation exposure they experience during dental x-rays. In this latest post, we’ll help to allay the fears concerning dental x-ray radiation.
Dental X-Rays Deliver the Lowest Dose of Radiation of any Medical X-Ray
The latest data shows that dental x-rays deliver the lowest dose of radiation of any of the medical x-rays. With two-to-four digital x-rays of the back of the patient’s mouth, the patient is exposed to 0.005 millisieverts of radiation. By comparison, the average North American is exposed to 3.1 millisieverts of radiation annually. This environmental radiation may come from natural sources, as well as the leftover remnants of nuclear testing, depending on the person’s location in the country.
The Rewards Clearly Outweigh the Risks
With the minimal impact of the radiation patients experience after undergoing digital x-rays, the benefits of this diagnostic tool clearly outweigh the dangers posed by the radiation. The dentist can use the digital x-ray to quickly diagnose a case of oral cancer, for example. They might also use the digital x-ray to rule out problems and to highlight teeth with cavities.
The Minor Risks Digital X-Rays Pose
While the vast majority of patients experience little to no effects from the radiation produced through digital x-rays, some patients are advised to not undergo digital x-rays in order to protect their long-term health. For example, pregnant women are advised to wait until they have their baby before undergoing a digital x-ray. That’s because there’s a potential danger that fetuses can be damaged through radiation exposure. It’s important for those with concerns on this issue to speak directly with their dental health specialist in order to protect their child.
It’s now clear that, for the vast majority of patients, digital x-rays hold a clear net benefit for their long-term dental health. To learn more on the performance of digital x-rays and the latest industry guidance on their use, speak with our expert team directly!