Answer to Question #12809 Submitted to "Ask the Experts"

Category: Medical and Dental Patient Issues — Dental

The following question was answered by an expert in the appropriate field:


Since last year I have had at least 12 x rays during fillings, crown work, and a root canal. All were on the same tooth. I am worried that is way too much radiation! Should I be worried?


You can stop worrying. Dental x rays are very low-dose procedures with a typical effective dose of 0.005 millisievert (mSv). With 12 in a year, that is 0.06 mSv. The average radiation dose from naturally occurring radiation in the environment in the United States is around 3 mSv per year. In other words, the dental x rays were 50 times less radiation than you got from living on this planet!  

Kent Lambert, CHP, FHPS

Ask the Experts is posting answers using only SI (the International System of Units) in accordance with international practice. To convert these to traditional units we have prepared a conversion table. You can also view a diagram to help put the radiation information presented in this question and answer in perspective. Explanations of radiation terms can be found here.
Answer posted on 8 February 2019. The information posted on this web page is intended as general reference information only. Specific facts and circumstances may affect the applicability of concepts, materials, and information described herein. The information provided is not a substitute for professional advice and should not be relied upon in the absence of such professional advice. To the best of our knowledge, answers are correct at the time they are posted. Be advised that over time, requirements could change, new data could be made available, and Internet links could change, affecting the correctness of the answers. Answers are the professional opinions of the expert responding to each question; they do not necessarily represent the position of the Health Physics Society.