Dental Tips |3 min read

How Much Radiation Is In A Dental X-Ray?

Dentist holding picture of dental x-ray.

It’s a new year, which means you have renewed benefits and can begin the rounds of regular check-ups again.

And, that means:

Your dental insurance benefits for dental x-rays have most likely been renewed as well.

Of course, we do get patients who refuse x-rays at their appointment.

The most common reasoning behind doing so is that they don’t want to be exposed to the radiation that comes with them.

You may be wondering:

“How much radiation is in a dental x-ray?”

Keep reading to learn about the importance of x-rays and the different types and levels of radiation we’re exposed to every day.

What are dental x-rays?

It’s a necessary diagnostic procedure that allows medical professionals to see your bones and the surrounding tissues.

With teeth having 2/3 of their structure under the surface of the gums, it’s incredibly important for the dentist to have x-rays taken during regular and emergency appointments.

Dental x-rays help Dr. Joseph Olsen detect damage and disease that may not be visible at the surface.

With x-rays, Dr. Olsen can see:

  • Areas of decay
  • Bone loss that occurs with gum disease
  • Abscesses, which are infections at the root of your tooth or between your tooth and gum
  • Tumors

Having x-rays as a reference point allows your dentist to properly prepare for procedures such as dental implants, dentures, or other similar treatments.

But just how much radiation is in an x-ray?

Radiation in dental x-rays vs. everyday life

Radiation comparison chart of dental x-rays versus everyday life activities.

To understand radiation, we need to talk about millisieverts.

Millisieverts (mSv) are defined… This text opens a new tab to the Radiology Info website… as the “average accumulated background radiation dose to an individual for one year, minus radon, in the United States.”

What exactly does this mean for your exposure to radiation in your daily life?

The truth is:

Walking outside in the sunshine or sleeping in your home brings constant exposure to radiation in some form.

On average, a person experiences about 3 mSv a year.

To put it into perspective:

Dental x-rays give off about .005 – .009 mSv.

Getting x-rays at the dentist is equivalent to about one day of your daily activities with radiation from the sun or from natural background radiation that comes from the Earth, living things, or your home environment.

Keep in mind:

Dental x-rays allow a more accurate diagnosis for your dental care and treatment.

Overall it helps provide the doctor with the most information on what’s happening under the gums and has minimal radiation exposure compared to other x-rays and daily life.

Rest assured, the levels of radiation in dental x-rays are considered extremely safe. 

Want to experience stress-free dental x-rays in Neenah, WI?

If you’re due for a dental check-up, don’t hesitate to make your appointment to see us.

Dr. Joseph Olsen at Fox Valley Dental uses modern technology and the latest techniques during your x-rays for precise results.

Schedule your appointment now.


Our office is conveniently located in Neenah, WI… This text opens a new tab to the Google Maps website…. We happily welcome patients from all over the Fox Valley area, including Menasha, Appleton, Oshkosh, Grand Chute, Little Chute, Kaukauna, Wrightstown, Kimberly, Greeneville, Omro, Winneconne, Sherwood, Fond du Lac, Ripon, Hortonville, Green Bay, Ashwaubenon, and De Pere.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in January 2020 and has been completely revamped for comprehensiveness and timeliness.

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