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Are Dental X-Rays Hazardous to Human Health?

Posted on 6/3/2024 by San Francisco Dental Arts
Dentist evaluating digital xraysThere is very little risk of harm, even with repeat dental X-rays. Your dental specialist will only use the radiation dose that is enough for your maxilla facial tissue.

How Much Radiation Does Dental X-Rays Use?

The strength of radiation is measured by the intensity of X-rays. In medicine, radiation strength is measured by how much enters body tissue or the effect of this radiation on the body tissue. In dentistry, the common measurement technique is considering the effect of radiation on body tissue.

The unit of measure for X-ray radiation in dentistry is sieverts (Sv). The risk of tissue damage from radiation depends on the body tissue receiving the radiation and the duration of exposure. Generally, soft tissue has a higher risk of damage from exposure than bone tissue.

A sievert of radiation is so powerful that it would cause severe complications and cancer even in short-term doses. For human X-rays, just a fraction of a sievert is used. According to the Department of Energy, the maximum permissible radiation exposure for human X-rays is 5000 microsieverts ('Sv), which is close to the dose of radiation you receive during a CT scan. Considering that a microsievert is a fraction of a millionth of a sievert, dental X-rays averaging 35 microsieverts ('Sv) are very safe.

Who Needs Dental X Rays?

Dental X-rays are used to diagnose some dental issues that are difficult for physical examination to catch. Other times, dentists use X-rays just to determine the structure of your mouth. Tooth decay, root canal problems, impacted teeth tumors, and bone loss are easily identified through X-rays. These problems develop slowly deep under tissue and are difficult to identify through physical examination.

Who Should Not Get Dental X Rays?

Pregnant Women

Pregnant women should avoid all types of X-rays. The rate at which cellular activity occurs in fetuses makes all types of X-rays dangerous.


Again, this narrows down to cellular activity. The cells in children are dividing rapidly, and exposure to any amount of radiation carries risks.

Closing Remarks

Dental X-rays are generally safe. Consult your dentist today to establish whether you need a dental X-ray.
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