Dental radiation exposure produces the lowest amount in the medical field. Because your teeth are right next to your cheeks, the x-ray only needs to penetrate through that skin and through the tooth. Inside of a dental x-ray unit are small filters used to concentrate the effective amount of rays that reach your teeth, getting rid of the rays that will not produce quality images.
There are other factors that go into protecting patients. We offer lead aprons that cover the entire abdomen and the thyroid glands. The lead reflects the x-rays and protects you from unnecessary exposure. We will never expose a patient to unnecessary radiographs, reducing the overall exposure.
To put radiation exposure into perspective, we have a chart to help explain.
Dental radiation is on the lowest end of the spectrum. A full mouth set of x-rays includes eighteen films of only the teeth and their roots, where a panorex image is one full image of the entire mouth and surrounding cranial areas.
The average person in the US is exposed to about 360 mREM per year from naturally occurring background sources like the sun and radon from the ground. Simple things like cooking with natural gas adds an extra 10 mREM each year, living in a brick building adds 10 mREM, and flying in an airplane cross country can add 3-5 mREM. It would take 20 full series of x rays to equal the amount of radiation the average person is exposed to from background sources each year!
At our office, we use digital radiographs which reduce your exposure to 1/3 that of traditional film x-rays!