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Radiation, X-Rays, and other FAQs Did you know?

These days, a great deal of attention is paid to radiation associated with radiographs (or “X-ray” images), and rightfully so. But what is the true risk factor associated with getting X-rays done at the dental office? We here at Rivertown Dental Care have done our homework and would like to share the results with you all –

+ In 2007, the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICPR) developed a modern measure of effective dosage of radiation based on the radiosensitivity of tissues and their corresponding weighting factors. This form of measure is termed the “Micro Sievert”.

+ A controlled study performed by a group at the University of North Carolina (Ludlow, Davies-Ludlow, and White) evaluated the effective dosage in “Micro Sieverts” between several forms of dental imaging to determine the relative safety of different techniques.

+ The results of the study found that using digital sensors in X-ray technique can reduce patients radiation exposure by a factor of 10x for bitewing and full-mouth series X-rays, in contrast to older techniques with film.

+ Some numerical comparisons: *The average person in the US experiences approximately 8 micro sieverts of radiation exposure per day just from routine background radiation (walking around outside). *For comparison sake, a full-mouth series of X-rays (~20 images) results in about 34 micro sieverts of radiation exposure. *What does it mean? Getting TWENTY dental x-rays with digital sensor technology is roughly equivalent to four days worth of routine background radiation of being outdoors in the US.

+ So, in conclusion – the risks of radiation, though very small, are real. The best and safest approach is to utilize technique that reduces this radiation exposure, such as X-rays with digital sensors and lead apron coverage for the patient.

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