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Dental Imagery Radiation Facts

August 23, 2021

Dental images, such as x-rays, are often used as part of general dental examinations or in specialised investigation and diagnosis in dental practice. Any radiation exposure is very low level, and unlikely to have health effects.

The infographic below shows the radiation exposure from dental x-rays compared with other sources of exposure in everyday life.

Infographic shows the radiation exposure from dental x-rays compared with other sources of exposure in everyday life. (For more information please visit or

Types of imaging you may encounter as part of your dental treatment include:

Bitewing X-ray

Provides a view of the surfaces between the teeth, beneath the surface of the tooth enamel, as well as the level of bone surrounding the teeth. This is the most common dental imaging scan.

Right and Left bitewing x-ray of multiple dental treatments

Panoramic X-ray

Orthopantomogram (OPG)

Provides a view of the full mouth, including the jaw, teeth, sinuses and eye sockets. This scan is commonly used to review tooth development and wisdom tooth positioning, for planning orthodontic treatment, and to support the treatment of conditions impacting a wider area of the mouth.

OPG of impacted lower third molars with the lower teeth next to nerve in the jaw

Periapical X-ray

Provides a view of a whole tooth, including the tooth roots and the surrounding structures. This is a common dental imaging scan.

Middle tooth has an infection (dark area at tip of root). Next tooth to right - past root filling (white material in root canal)

Lateral Cephalometric X-ray

Lateral Cephalometric X-ray labelled structures Source:

Provides a profile/side-on view of the head and neck and is often used as part of orthodontic treatment.

Cone Beam Computerised Tomography


Produces a three-dimensional image of the teeth, bone and surrounding anatomy.

Cone Beam Computerised Tomography Source:

Each of these types of dental imagery are produced by low levels of exposure to radiation.

In modern dentistry, x-ray doses are so low and well controlled that lead aprons are not usually (or routinely) required. However we place lead apron for young children and pregnant women. I just place a lead apron for everyone as it’s not a big deal to do so.

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If you’d like to book an appointment with the dentist at Seymour Dental then call us in Dulwich Hill, Sydney on (02) 9564 2397 or
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Next week

Dentist at large – The Jab