Mentioning the word “radiation” can sometimes can conjure up unpleasant thoughts or concerns for many people. Some may associate the term with nuclear accidents; cancer, etc. But, did you realize radiation use, under certain monitored and protected conditions, is beneficial in the dental profession? One such type of beneficial use is in conjunction with obtaining dental X-Rays. Extremely low doses of radiation are used to obtain this very important diagnostic tool.

Sunrise’s patients may be concerned they are getting overexposed to radiation. “How much radiation am I exposed to and what harmful effects are anticipated, if any?” The short answers are very little and none, respectively. To understand how safe the X-rays really are, one must first understand how radiation is measured. “Rem” is radiation’s standard unit of measure. A single rem of radiation is an extremely large unit, much like using “miles” in describing distances. Typically, since dental patients are exposed to such low doses of radiation during the X-ray process, the doses are measured in “millirems”(mrem). What this means is if someone is exposed to 1 Rem, they are exposed to 1000 millirems of radiation. Typically, when obtaining dental x-rays, patients can expect to be exposed to 1/1000TH or 3/1000TH of a Rem or 1 -3 mrem. (VERY LOW DOSE)

A study by The National Council on Radiation states an average citizen will be exposed to approximately 360 mrems of radiation, YEARLY, from commonly occurring background sources. That’s over 300 TIMES MORE than what you receive from getting dental X-rays!!!! Some of these sources are: smoke detectors; TV watching; airline travel; smoking, etc. One would not necessarily choose not to watch TV, fly on a plane or use smoke detectors due to the inconsequential amount of radiation exposure from these activities.

As your Sunrise dentist gains valuable information from your X-rays, Sunrise believes getting X-rays on a regular basis (1-2 times per year) is in everyone’s best interest to insure your continued dental health and overall well-being. In light of the daily exposures we all encounter, the risk to benefit ratio favors getting X-rays. Let us know if you have any concerns at your next visit.