Are dental x-rays safe?


Radiation is all around us. Currently, two main sources of ionizing radiation are from natural background radiation and medical/ dental exposure.

Natural background radiation comes from the sun and stars (cosmic radiation), the Earth (terrestrial radiation) and the elements that make up the human body, radioactive isotopes potassium-40 and carbon-14 (internal radiation). Natural background radiation exposure accounts for an average of 3.1 mSv/yr with variations depending on where you live.

Dental x-ray are safe; however, they do require very low levels of radiation exposure. Techniques are designed to limit the body’s exposure to radiation and every precaution is taken to ensure that radiation exposure is As Low As Reasonably Achievable (the ALARA principle).

Dental x-rays are used to detect damage and disease not visible during a regular dental exam.

  • Bitewings – are used to detect decay between teeth and bone loss caused by gum disease. Typically taken annually.
  • Periapicals – are used to detect abnormalities of the root and surrounding bone structure. Typically taken when you are having symptoms with a specific tooth or as a follow-up to a procedure.
  • Panoramic– are used to detect the position of emerging teeth, identify impacted teeth, to plan treatment for dentures, braces, extractions and implants.
  • Cone Beam CT – are three dimensional (3-D) images used for surgical planning for impacted teeth, accurate placement of dental implants, locating the origin of pain or pathology.



We use the most up to date technology for imaging such as the DEXIS™ Platinum Digital Intraoral Sensors with ScatterGuard™ for protection against scattered radation. For extraoral imaging we use the Planmeca ProMax® that allows imaging at lower doses by reducing the imaging area and exposure values. Your safety is our utmost priority.