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Are Dental X-Rays Safe?

On April 27, 2013 dental-x-ray-vancouver

Dental x-rays are used to find cavities that are in-between your teeth that are not visible to a standard examination. These types of cavities are caused by people neglecting to floss regularly. These “flossing” cavities are common because in North America our diets are rich in processed sugars and not all of us floss everyday.

According to the American Dental Association only 50% of people floss their teeth regularly. When “flossing cavities” are found in their early stage they can be stopped and even reversed with improved oral hygiene.

Furthermore, dental x-rays allow us to monitor your bone levels, look for bone abnormalities and make sure none of your old fillings and crowns are failing.

How often should I get a dental x-ray?

At Third Street Dental, we follow the internationally accepted guidelines of the ALARA principal, which states that x-rays should be reduced to “As Low As Reasonably Achievable”. We keep the dose as low as reasonably possible and only take dental x-rays on our regular patients about every two years. Children get x-rays at even longer intervals (3-5 years) in our clinic.

How high is the radiation in a dental x-ray?

The average amount of radiation in a standard set of dental x-rays (4 bitewings) is about .005 millisieverts. According to the American College of Radiology that is about half the amount of radiation you get in a normal day from the sun or 1/8 the radiation of an airplane flight from Los Angeles to New York City.

If x-rays are safe, why do I have to wear a lead apron and why does the assistant leave the room?

Dr. Ho and his staff follow the ALARA principal, to keep the x-ray dose as low as reasonably possible. Even though the dose is very low, we take all measures to reduce x-ray exposure to your body even further with an apron.

– Dr. Andrew Ho (BSc, DDS)

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