Exposure to radiation in dentistry
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In dentistry the exposure to radiation caused by radiographs is very low. The radiation in the medical field, such as an X-ray of the lung or a CT scan of the entire body, is comparatively much higher. The chart below illustrates this. During the observation period from 1996 to 2006, the proportion of the effective radiation dose of dental X-rays per capita was only 0.2% of the total dose of all radiographs made in the FRG. This holds true, even though over a third of all radiographs were made in dentistry. The comparison with computerized tomography (CT) makes it even more obvious that the radiation exposure from the dental sector is very low.
The effective dose of radiation exposure refers to the entire body and allows a comparison between exposure to x-rays and naturally occurring background radiation. The background radiation consists of cosmic radiation, terrestrial radiation and radiation from radon gas. Together, this background radiation is about 3-4 mSv per year. It varies by region and is even stronger at higher elevations. Further information on background radiation can be found here.
The applied X-ray technology in dentistry is limited to dental films, bite wings, panoramic radiographs (OPG) and in the last few years to the Cone Beam Computed Tomography (CBCT). The table lists some average values in milli Sievert (mSv). These values are only approximate. They can differ, depending on the device used.
Höhenstrahlung beim Fliegen Bundesamt für Strahlenschutz März 2003
Radiation Protection Nr. 154
European Guidance on Estimating Population Doses from Medical X-Ray Procedures
ANNEX 1 DD Report 1 REVIEW OF RECENT NATIONAL SURVEYS OF POPULATION EXPOSURE FROM MEDICAL X-RAYS IN EUROPE
Directorate-General for Energy and Transport Directorate H Nuclear Energy Unit H.4 Radiation Protection 2008
Pathways of the Pulp10th Edition Part I Chapter 5 Radiation Safety page 95-96 Cohen, Stephen, MA, DDS, FICD, FACD Hargreaves, Kenneth M., DDS, PhD, FICD, FACD