How much radiation is in a dental x-ray?

Radiation is a part of everday life. According to the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission the average American is exposed to 620 mrem of radiation each year. The safe radiation dose limit is 5,000 mrem per year for those who work around radioactive materials. Compared to traditional dental films, digital x-rays have decreased radiation exposure by approximately 80%. Here is a list of a few sources of both natural and man-made radiation.

52 mrem/year = cosmic radiation for residents of Castle Rock, CO

30 mrem/year = terrestrial radiation

40 mrem/year = radiation from food

228 mrem/year = radiation from the air (radon)

2 mrem/year = sleeping next to another person

84 mrem = mammogram (2 views)

700 mrem = chest ct-scan

0.5 mrem = dental x-ray (traditional film)

0.1 mrem = dental x-ray (digital)

Patients typically receive 4 bite-wing x-rays each year (0.4 mrem), and a full mouth series every five years (1.8 mrem). That means we can take a full set of 18 x-rays for your entire mouth and still expose less radiation then sleeping next to another person for a year. We have the finest in digital radiography that not only limits your radiation exposure, but also provides the highest image quality for early detection of cavities.

Statistical Sources

  • United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission
  • American Nuclear Society