{1 - 24} GreyGrey
{25 - 49} GreenGreen
{50 - 499} BlueBlue
{500 - 4999} OrangeOrange
{5000 - 24999} RedRed
{25000+} BlackBlack

Please confirm that you would like to report this for an admin to review.


What do you tell a patient who asks how much radiation is given during routine x-rays?



Confirm that you would like to Remove Email Alerts for your question. You cant undo this and you will not be able to re-subscribe.


16 Answers

I like to give the patient examples of comparisons:
4 bitewings: 79 times less radiation than a year of background radiation from the environment
4 bitewings = 0.5 mrem of radiation, in comparison:
flying in a plane: 5 mrem
1 mrem/year from a smoke detector
10 mrem/year cooking on natural gas stove
10 mrem/year living in a brick house
36 mrem/year smoking a pack of cigarettes per day
2 mrem/year sleeping next to your spouse

Even eating a banana gives you more mrems than dental X-rays!

Confirm that you would like to select this answer as the "Best Answer" to your question. This will bring this answer to to top and be highlighted as "Best Answer". You can always change this if a better answer is given.


I explain to my patients that radiographs today are not the same as they once were. Technology has evolved and now especially with digital radiographs the amount of radiation we are exposed to for routine exams is less than walking outside in the sun. I also explain how important it is to diagnose caries early in order to reduce larger issues from arrising 🙂 its all about explaining the benefits and its all about being preventive while still understanding and making them feel as if their concerns are heard.

Confirm that you would like to select this answer as the "Best Answer" to your question. This will bring this answer to to top and be highlighted as "Best Answer". You can always change this if a better answer is given.


Always compare to the a Sun!!! The Sun fixes everything!!! ☀️ Can you tell we’ve had a long winter!!!

Confirm that you would like to select this answer as the "Best Answer" to your question. This will bring this answer to to top and be highlighted as "Best Answer". You can always change this if a better answer is given.


I tell them that with digital X-Rays the radiation is MUCH less then with the standard X-Rays. I also tell them they probably get more radiation flying.

Confirm that you would like to select this answer as the "Best Answer" to your question. This will bring this answer to to top and be highlighted as "Best Answer". You can always change this if a better answer is given.


A FMX is about the same radiation as one hour of sun exposure.

Confirm that you would like to select this answer as the "Best Answer" to your question. This will bring this answer to to top and be highlighted as "Best Answer". You can always change this if a better answer is given.


I was nervous about X rays myself, because I worked in a practice with the hand held Nomad. I couldn’t leave the room & I felt I needed to get a lead apron for myself. After much research & speaking with several radiologist my fears were gone. Radiation to a digital FMX is equivalent to eating a banana. Even with traditional X ray exposure, it is extremely low due to increased speed of the film. What is considered really low exposure is a chest X rays & dental X rays aren’t anywhere close to that. For every 2 hours you fly in a plane you get a chest X rays worth of radiation. Pilots aren’t showing any signs of excessive radiation so I think we are all going to be ok.

Confirm that you would like to select this answer as the "Best Answer" to your question. This will bring this answer to to top and be highlighted as "Best Answer". You can always change this if a better answer is given.


The best is when they are concerned about radiation exposure but they are super tan. I of course do all the explaining and comparisons, and then make them sign the chart if they don’t want them.

Confirm that you would like to select this answer as the "Best Answer" to your question. This will bring this answer to to top and be highlighted as "Best Answer". You can always change this if a better answer is given.


I tell patients that digital X-rays give off a lot less radiation than standard. I also say you get more radiation from your microwave or being out in the sun.

Confirm that you would like to select this answer as the "Best Answer" to your question. This will bring this answer to to top and be highlighted as "Best Answer". You can always change this if a better answer is given.


I tell them they get less radiation from four BW than they do from being in the sun. I also explain benefits of BW for a complete exam.

Confirm that you would like to select this answer as the "Best Answer" to your question. This will bring this answer to to top and be highlighted as "Best Answer". You can always change this if a better answer is given.


I say that the new digital sensors cut the radiation to one third that needed for the films used in the past, and also use environmental exposure and flying references. Most people just want to be heard and if they are at low risk for caries we discuss adjusting the time interval to suit the patient’s needs.

Confirm that you would like to select this answer as the "Best Answer" to your question. This will bring this answer to to top and be highlighted as "Best Answer". You can always change this if a better answer is given.


I agree with all if the above comments. But I have never heard the banana theory. Cute and funny. I need to research so I can be knowledgeable about it. I would love to use that one!

Confirm that you would like to select this answer as the "Best Answer" to your question. This will bring this answer to to top and be highlighted as "Best Answer". You can always change this if a better answer is given.


See table 1 under the pedrad.org site below

Table 1. Comparison of Radiation Effective Dose from Various Dental and Medical Image Procedures to Natural Background Radiation

Confirm that you would like to select this answer as the "Best Answer" to your question. This will bring this answer to to top and be highlighted as "Best Answer". You can always change this if a better answer is given.


I educate them how advanced digital technology is and how low the exposure is, less than being outside, microwave, cell phone usage!

Confirm that you would like to select this answer as the "Best Answer" to your question. This will bring this answer to to top and be highlighted as "Best Answer". You can always change this if a better answer is given.


I have never heard of exposure from a banana – how is that??

Confirm that you would like to select this answer as the "Best Answer" to your question. This will bring this answer to to top and be highlighted as "Best Answer". You can always change this if a better answer is given.


I cringe when patients ask this question. I tell them digital is so much better. I too say that it’s less than being out in the sun for an hour.

Confirm that you would like to select this answer as the "Best Answer" to your question. This will bring this answer to to top and be highlighted as "Best Answer". You can always change this if a better answer is given.


I use the sun, flying and brick house. (I live in a brick house and wonder how much I am really getting 🙂 I stay away from numbers because I can’t remember them all. Banana??? that is a new one. Thanks for the link Hygenius.

Confirm that you would like to select this answer as the "Best Answer" to your question. This will bring this answer to to top and be highlighted as "Best Answer". You can always change this if a better answer is given.


You must be Logged In to Answer this Question

Already a Member, Log In
Not a member yet? Sign Up