Dental radiographs (x-rays) allow us to examine parts of the teeth we cannot see. They are considered part of the standard of care for the dental profession. This means we are required to take radiographs periodically to ensure we are accurately diagnosing decay, bone loss, and other conditions.
We are sensitive to patients’ preference for limited exposure to x-rays, and we will discuss a frequency of dental radiographs appropriate for your condition and consistent with the American Dental Association guidelines. We have also made a substantial investment in digital radiography (allowing us to reduce the amount of radiation used by 70% compared to film). We always use beam collimation and lead aprons with neck shields to ensure the minimal amount of exposure to patients. In fact, individuals in the United States who work with radiation as part of their profession are allowed a maximum dose per year of 50,000 microsieverts. A typical dental radiograph exposes patients to only 5 microsieverts. Average background radiation during a single day is 10 microsieverts. There's no way to prevent all exposure, but you can see that we take all available measures to reduce it to very minimal amounts.