I’ll admit that on a handful of occassions during dental school, I have forgotten to place the lead apron on my patient. For those who find this terrifying, let’s take an opportunity to set the record straight…
Dental radiographs deliver a very low level of radiation. Very low. How low you ask?
The average person receives twice much exposure from simple background radiation all around us every day than from a dental xray. A yearly mammogram is the equivalent of 600 dental radiographs.
A dental radiograph delivers 5 microseverts of radiation. A U.S. Radiation worker is permitted a maximum 5 milliseverts each year to ensure safety…1000 times more than your dental xray.
To put things in perspective and see some more truly amazing facts about radiation (and to find out how much radiation you get from eating a banana), check out this interesting graphic from xkcd.com: