Most people associate fear with radiation from everything to cancer and nuclear weapons. But what most people don’t realize is that radiation is all around us and for the most part does not pose a danger.
Reading a book 3 hours a day (radioactive material used to make paper), flying in an airplane and even living in a brick house instead of wood are all common things that expose us to radiation. We would not think about giving up reading or flying because of radiation exposure. Even if you did give up these things there is still natural background radiation we are all exposed to.
Dental x-rays are one of the lowest radiation dose studies performed. A routine exam which includes 4 bitewings is less than one day of natural background radiation. It is also about the same amount of radiation exposure from a short airplane flight (~1-2 hrs).
Digital x-rays also cut down radiation by about 90% so the dose is nominal and certainly outweigh the risks of not catching problems early. Even patients without teeth need regular x-rays. Dental x-rays are not used to just detect cavities but also any abnormal growths or tumors. Early detection of tumors in the head and neck area is key to successful treatment and survival.
Some dentists still use traditional x-rays because digital x-ray equipment is costly. Here at Cosmetic Dentistry of San Antonio we use digital x-rays and have for many years. We also use lead shields which cuts down exposure even further.