Dental X-rays

Are Dentists offices required to have lead shielding around them?

I was getting a root canal cleaned out, and they had to take several X-rays. They put the lead apron on me, then ran out of the room and hid, and took it. This is sensible, since they are taking them every day, and even small exposures would add up over time.

Anyway, I was thinking, they don’t seem to pay attention to where the X-rays go after shooting through me. Mine were heading towards the parking lot, but if my tooth was on the other side of my mouth, anyone on the first floor (this was the second floor) would be getting hit often. A first floor receptionist, in an unlucky location, could be getting all kinds of second hand X-rays just sitting at their desk.

Anyone know about this?

This is a question I’ve wondered about, too. I’ve also wondered if it was necessary since the X-ray beam would, of course, diffuse.

I dunno. I hope someone does.

As a patient at a dental office, I have asked for an X-ray apron during the X-ray and I was given one.

I think I was also told that the earth is naturally radioactive and everyday that you live and breathe, you are being continually exposed to our friend the X-ray.

Also, I think the X-Ray diminishes in strength as it leaves it point of origin.


Terence in Marietta, GA

“… Be someone’s hero …”

What bout airport Xray machines? Do the Xrays keep going to the middle of the earth?

There is radiation around us all the time no biggie. Its additive, though, you know one day of radiation + another day =two days. Stays in your body too, nasty stuff.

Those low-intensity dental X-rays probably don’t make it through the other side of your jaw in appreciable amounts. Interior walls should stop the rest just fine.

Ironically, the exterior walls might be more dangerous than the X-rays. Concrete block is a source of radioactive radon.

Radiation exposure declines inversely with the square of distance.

In English: If you double the distance between yourself and a point source of radioactive emissions, you are exposed to 1/4 the radioactive energy.

Actually, the point about total radiation exposure being cumulative is not currently believed to be true. Our bodies are constantly exposed to “background rediation”. It has mechanisms for repairing any damage caused by this low-level exposure. If our DNA weren’t limited by telomere length, it could replicate correctly indefinitely with the amount of radiation exposure we get from the environment.

Any exposure to radiation levels significantly above background, however, probably does result in cumulative damage to our chromosomes.

Most of the naturally occuring radiation is in the form of gamma waves. Most of these pass harmlessly through the body; some hit atoms & release their energy into the substance containing the atom. Only when radioactive material is ingested (drinking milk from cows who ate grass with fallout as in post-Chernobyl Ukraine & Poland) is the radioactivity truly inside the body. Again, most gamma waves emitted leave the body uneventfully - only when lower energy waves/larger particles (beta radiation) are emitted does most of the radiation hit something.

Sue from El Paso

Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted.

I guess we may just have to wait and see what “develops”

I met a man that said he would do anything for $50.00. I said, “Ok paint my house.”
Henny Youngman

At UCSD they taught us it was far better to get a big dose of radiation than a small one. The theory being that a high enough dose could keep a cell from producing.

I am not sure about a dentist office, but I once worked for a construction company building a hospital. The walls and doors in the x-ray department had lead lining. Yes, this made a wooden door very heavy. Even the glass window in the door was special leaded glass.

Better qualify that, handy…

Too high a dose to the whole body is fatal.

If only one area is affected, you’re right, though. When I treat with radioactive iodine with the intent to destroy someone’s thyroid, one concern in that giving a “sublethal dose” (not enough to kill all of the tissue) could predispose to thyroid cancer later on…

Sue from El Paso

Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted.