XRay Relative Radiation Risk


Occasionally, we find patients who are apprehensive about being exposed to dental x-rays. That is understandable considering the typical inaccuracy of the sensationalist journalism that sporadically reports on the subject. We offer this comparison to hopefully ease any concerns our patients might have. Feel free to ask as many questions as you would like.

uSv (dose in microsieverts)

0.1 Eating one banana (from the potassium it contains)

0.2 Single digital dental x-ray, periapical or bitewing view

1.4 Series of 7 digital x-ray bitewing views

3.6 Full mouth set of 18 digital x-ray periapical and bitewing views

34-68 i-Cat Cone Beam 3D CT-scan (# depends on scan parameters) Cone Beam CT-Scanners
are classified by the FDA as having no to minimal risk.

60 Medical frontal or lateral chest x-ray

70One-week background dose at average elevation in the U.S. (78uSv per week if at elevation of Colorado plateau.) Keep in mind that background radiation exposes the entire body, while dental and medical x-rays reach only the parts of our bodies seen the in the x-ray image.

70Additiona2l dose from living in a stone, brick, or concrete building for one year

80Round-trip airplane flight New York to Los Angeles

350 Mammogram

400 Yearly dose from natural potassium in the body

700 Medical x-ray of the abdomen

2,000 Medical CT-scan of the head

3,600 One-year background dose at average elevation in the U.S.

8,000 Medical CT-scan of the chest

10,000 Medical CT-scan of the abdomen

10,000 Exposure from cooking with natural gas every day (from radon) for one year

13,000 Smoking one pack of cigarettes per day for one year

16,000 Coronary angiogram

50,000 Radiation worker one-year dose limit set by the U.S. National
Council on Radiation Exposure, and the U.S. FDA

100,000 Lowest one-year dose clearly linked to increased risk of any cancer

Pregnancy: The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has stated that concerns about possible effects of radiation exposure should not prevent x-rays from being performed during pregnancy. In addition to there being a minimal dose in the x-ray viewing area, x-rays do not go around corners and inadvertently go to other areas. There is absolutely no measurable radiation outside the viewing area, and there is absolutely ZERO biological risk to a developing embryo or fetus.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *