Answer to Question #12647 Submitted to "Ask the Experts"
The following question was answered by an expert in the appropriate field:
About four or five days after conception, I had a root canal and did not yet know that I was pregnant. The dentist took 10 digital x rays on my tooth and used a lead shield to cover my abdominal area. I have read a great deal of information stating that a dental x ray is not enough radiation to cause harm to a baby, but I am very concerned because I had a great deal more taken than the average person. Should I be concerned about the amount of radiation exposure the baby received on this day? Does the radiation from a dental x ray stay localized near the mouth or can it spread to the uterus?
There was no harm done to the baby from having the dental x rays.
No matter how many dental x rays you have, the baby is not going to receive any radiation dose. The radiation is carefully collimated to include only the area of interest (teeth/jaw/mouth) with little or no radiation exposure outside that area.
The x rays only exist while the x-ray machine is operating. When the machine is off, there are no x rays and no radiation remains anywhere.
You should not be concerned. What you have read is correct—a dental x ray or a number of dental x rays will not harm the baby.
Certified Medical Health Physicist