How To Reduce Your Exposure To Dental X-Rays

Health & Medical Blog

Dental x-rays are safe, and many people get them without experiencing any adverse health effects. However, there is no harm in minimizing the amount of exposure to x-ray radiation. Such measures will also help to calm your mind as far as the risk of radiation damage is concerned. Some of these measures include:

Showing the Dentist Your X-Ray History

Dental x-rays, or any x-rays for that matter, are not and should not be routine medical procedures. Therefore, ensure that you only have the x-rays when necessary. Since you are the one who knows how many times you have had them in the recent past, it is up to you to furnish your dentist with the information. Do this by:

  • Telling your dentist the last time you had the x-rays
  • Furnishing your dentist with x-ray copies taken by other medical providers
  • Keeping an online repository of x-rays (and maybe other health records) for your dentist (and other) to access

Asking For a Lead Apron

Your dentist should provide, but it doesn't hurt to ask about, a lead apron to reduce the risk of the rays hitting other parts of your body. The protective shield should cover the part of your body from your neck to your knees. There should also be a separate neck protector so that only the part of your mouth to be x-rayed gets exposed to the radiation.

Asking for F-Speed Films

The way x-rays operate means that the longer the exposure time, the more radiation you will receive. X-ray films are labeled D, E, and F. It is believed that the use of E-film offers a 30-40% reduction of radiation exposure. Switching from E-film to E-film offers a radiation exposure of approximately 20-25%. If you wish to reduce your exposure, then you should ask about the fastest film, which is F-film.

Getting the Procedure from Certified Dentists

Lastly, you can also improve your level of safety by getting x-rayed at a certified dental practice. State and local health departments regularly inspect x-ray machines. However, there is a risk of unnecessary or too much radiation exposure if you get your dental x-rays from an unlicensed or uncertified practice. This may happen, for example, if you are on dental tourism in another country that does not regulate the industry well). Such machines may be faulty and emit more than the usual dosage of radiation.

As you can see, there are many steps you and your dentist (such as one from Pike Lake Dental Center) can take to ensure your safety during the whole procedure. If a professional and licensed dentist handles your treatment, then you have very little to worry about as far as radiation damage is concerned.


10 March 2015