I Don’t Want The Radiation

This is the number one reason why patients refuse dental radiographs, the second being cost. Not unreasonable. Who wants to get irradiated? That’s some bad stuff…right?.

Radiation is essentially energy as it moves thru space. It can take many forms: visible light, x-rays and radio waves. Radiation comes to us naturally from the cosmos which bombards us everyday and is also administered by health care providers who utilize it for diagnostics in medicine and dentistry.

When X-rays pass thru our body, they knock off the negatively charged electrons from the cells of atoms leaving behind positively charged atoms (free radicals). These free-radicals can then be available to wreak havoc on our DNA. This action of irradiating is what can mess things up for us. Ordinarily, the cells have salvage mechanisms to repair the damaging action and life goes on. If too many free radicals are running amuck impacting our genetic make-up and the body’s defenses can not catch up fast enough to remedy the damage in a timely manner, that’s cancer.

Radiation exposure is calculated in the amount your body absorbs per year.

Radiation is measured in Sieverts (Sv).

One ( Sv) = One Thousand milli Siverts (mSv)

The body can safely absorb up to 20 SV ( 20,000 mSv) units per year  without increased risk of cancer.

IMPORTANT POINT HERE! ……….BECAUSE RADIATION EXPOSURE IS CUMULATIVE , a conversation needs to be had. A decision of fine balance discussing advantages and disadvantages at that dental visit must be considered by the patient and dentist when discussing the necessity of dental radiographs. If in fact, the patient has been recently exposed to medical ionizing radiation for diagnostics or treatments for other medical conditions, I will always tend to postpone radiographs until the following year.

Dental x-rays are one of the lowest radiation dose studies performed. A routine exam which includes 4 bitewings is about 0.005 mSv, which is less than one day of natural background radiation. It is also about the same amount of radiation exposure from a short airplane flight (~1-2 hrs).

The next time your  dentist or hygienist suggests dental radiographs,  put your decision into  perspective . X-rays go where my eyes can’t see such as below fillings and in between teeth. Plus, I can detect cysts, bone loss and developmental defects via radiographs. The advantages of intercepting problematic areas early on, is tacit.

I have been personally been responsible for the early detection of aggressive jaw bone tumors; benign and metastatic. I have saved several lives with the utilization of simple low dose dental radiographs.

Never once have I had a patient, for which I detected an underlying disease or tumor say they regretted heeding the request for radiographs by my “annoying and pestering”  hygienists. Let them do their job. Let them care for you!


Radiation Dosage Chart

.00005 Sleeping next to someone
.00009 Living within 50 miles of a nuclear power plant for a year
.00010 Eating a banana
.00025 Airport security scan
.001 Using a CRT monitor for one year
.005 Dental X-ray
.01 Background dose received by average person on an average day
.04 Flight from New York to LA
.07 Living in a stone, brick or concrete building for one year
.1 Chest X-ray
.4 Annual dose received through food
1.5 Spinal X-ray
2.4 Average background dose per person per year (natural background radiation)
4.0 Mammogram
6.0 Dose from spending one hour on the ground at Chernobyl (2010)
10.0 Average CT scan
36.0 Smoking 1.5 packs a day for one year
50.0 Millisieverts (mSv) Maximum annual dose permitted in US radiation workers


Dr. Emilio & Associates,  Always Accepts  New Patients. He especially exceeds at treating same day emergencies patients suffering from tooth ache pains.

His goal is to keep his patients’ Teeth and Gums Healthy For Life.

Feel Free to appoint a Consultation with the Doctor. Open Six Days A Week

OPEN on Weekdays.  7:30am -8:00pm  (M<T<W<T)

Fridays.  7:30am-2:00pm

Weekends (Saturday only).  8:00am-2:00pm

111 East Avenue, Norwalk, Connecticut 06851.

You can always contact me directly via email  blog@robertemiliodds.com

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Office (203)866-7164      www.robertemiliodds.com

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Author: robertemiliodds

My Passion is People and the Teeth Connected To Them! General dentist

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