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Expert Dental Advice: Are Dental X-rays Safe?

dentist holding dental xray | Doctor Kenneth J. Wolnik, DDS

Do you worry about radiation exposure when your dentist suggests taking x-rays of your teeth? Many of our patients come into the office worried about the long-term health effects of dental x-rays, but there are many factors that come into play when weighing the risks versus the benefits. Here at the office of Doctor Kenneth J. Wolnik, we hear your concerns. That’s why we’re taking a look at radiation exposure limits, radiation amounts from other sources, and the amounts involved in dental X-rays.

Are Dental X-Rays Safe? Radiation Exposure

Exposure to any source of radiation including the sun, the soil, consumer products, and medical and dental X-rays can potentially damage the body’s tissues and cells and in some instances lead to cancer. However, the amount of radiation you’re exposed to when getting an x-ray is extremely small.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), there’s no solid basis for establishing a guaranteed safe level of radiation exposure. When regulating businesses, the EPA issues licenses to use radiation sources in their activities, and uses the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) recommendations. This concept referred to as ALARA.

ALARA stands for As Low As Reasonably Achievable. It means that businesses must make sure that processes that expose the public to radiation are designed to keep exposures as far below exposure limits as possible.

How Small Is the Radiation Dose from Dental X-rays?

According to the American College of Radiology, four bitewing x-rays, which is what you would typically get in a routine exam, is about five microsieverts per year. That’s about the same amount you get from daily sun exposure. When you compare those numbers to radiation exposure from other factors, it’s actually quite small. For example, a five-hour airplane flight generates 25 microsieverts, while a year of watching TV will expose you to 10 microsieverts.

X-Rays Below Minimum Radiation Emissions

Some people have an irrational fear of dental x-rays and try to use  potential exposure to radiation as a reason to avoid having them done, however, it’s important to note that x-ray equipment in our office is tested yearly to ensure safe operation. The Ohio Department of Health makes periodic inspections to make sure the office remains compliant with State protocols. Dr. Wolnik’s office has invested in the best units available; these units function well below the State’s minimum threshold for radiation emission.

Contact Doctor Wolnik Today!

If you’re worried about exposure to radiation from x-rays, schedule an appoint for a consultation. We can answer all your questions and help put your mind at ease. Give us a call at (440) 888-5055 or email us at info@drwolnik.com to get started.

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