I had x-rays taken at the dentist recently and they forgot to use a lead apron...should I be concerned?
Question: I had x-rays taken at the dentist recently and they forgot to use a lead apron...should I be concerned?
Answer: Just like most things these days, "they don't make 'em like they used to"...and that is a good thing when we're talking about dental x-ray equipment. For the last 10 years, Digital X-ray equipment has been on the rise in dental offices and it is quickly becoming the standard of care. If your dentist uses digital X-ray formats in their office, then they are reducing your exposure by about 80-90% over traditional film-type x-rays.
Additionally, the x-ray heads that create the x-ray beam are more efficient and don't scatter the x-rays around the room (and your body) like they used to. So, even though it is still good practice to use for females who might be pregnant, use of lead aprons during x-rays will probably be outdated soon, since they were introduced over 50 years ago when the equipment was crude and exposures were to up 100 times more potent. We are exposed to x-ray radiation from the sun everyday. In fact, you will be exposed to more x-ray radiation tomorrow from your natural environment than what you from from your dental exam today. You shouldn't worry, but until the FDA says no more lead aprons, we'll keep on using htem.
Written by Dr. Ryan Wallin DDS, for Go Gilbert Magazine