It must have been a slow news week recently as stories about dental x-rays being very harmful flooded the papers and sensationalized current affairs programs.
It is natural that many people are wary about any x-rays as there is a stigma attached to them regarding exposure to radiation. Not too long ago, every member of the Spa Team wore a radiation sensor device/badge everyday at work for a seven month period. Each month the badges were sent to the radiation testing lab to be assessed. A detailed report was sent to us showing all the readings and the level of radiation was so minimal that there nothing to be concerned about.
Today's patients now receive lower doses of radiation than in the past. This reduction in dose is due to better equipment, faster x-ray films and increased use of digital radiography.
US Studies have revealed that the levels of radiation to which patients are exposed with a single dental x-ray is 0.0067% of the level of exposure from a mammogram or 0.5% of the level of exposure from an aeroplane flight from the equivalent of Sydney to Perth.
As you know, we only take x-rays when it is necessary to do so as X-rays are a vital diagnostic tool in dentistry and assist in providing information about a patient's oral health such as early-stage tooth decay, periodontal disease, infections, problems in surrounding bone or some types of tumours; revealing potential problems in the teeth that simply cannot be observed by the naked eye.
The Australian Dental Association has recently released comprehensive information about dental x-rays so if anyone would like to read this, please contact the practice for a copy or have a chat to us about it when you are next in.