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How to Address Patients? X-ray Concerns

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The radiation patients receive from x-rays is minimal

According to the American Dental Association (as quoted by Thomas P Connelly, DDS on the Huffington Post),X ray Radiation

"Using a millisievert (mSv) scale to measure doses, you could expect 0.038 from bitewing x-rays, and 0.150 from a full mouth x-ray. Of course, those numbers are practically meaningless unless you compare them to other types of x-rays:

  • Lower Gastrointestinal Tract - 4.060
  • Chest x-ray - .080
  • Radiation from space in Denver, CO - 0.510 (per year)
  • Avg. natural radiation in the US (per year) - 3.00

So, if an individual receives a full mouth x-ray, he or she still receives less radiation than they would if they spent 4 months in Denver. Radiation is everywhere, and dental x-rays are nothing to worry about. Especially because?.

Digital technology reduces amount of radiation emitted

Digital dental x-ray systems have solved a lot of problems with traditional x-rays. Dentists may immediately view the digital image and compare it to previous records. The images can be enhanced, emailed, and in fact the digital technology can reduce radiation by up to 80%. What?s not to love?

X-rays are extremely targeted

Dental x-rays are small amounts of radiation that are usually targeted at an individual?s mouth with a cannon-looking device. Some individuals wonder why they need to wear metal protection, and why the dentist leaves the room. Both are safety precautions because, as the saying goes, it?s better to be safe than sorry. Even still, the precise targeting and lead apron ensure that only a very small part of the body receives a dose of radiation? and that the radiation dosage is minimal.

For patients who are still concerned, emphasize the benefits of x-rays, and how dentists can?t spot certain problems (like molar problems and cavities) without them. The risks associated with x-rays are minimal; the risks associated with not getting x-ray include infected teeth, costly braces, and painful root canals. Let your patients decide for themselves which they prefer; we?re betting they?ll go for the x-rays.

*X-ray sign is property of


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