Hi, everybody. Dr. Ellis here again to answer another question that I get all the time. But instead of staring at the camera the whole time, I decided that I want to do one of those cool videos that you see on the internet, where there’s a white board and they’re writing on the whiteboard and you got this really killer artist that’s drawing the stuff and then the stuff magically gets washed aside and more stuff comes out and got this cool voice over guy. So I thought I would do one of those, but I got none of that. No whiteboard, cool voice over guy, or good artist. I got none of that. So I take the piece of paper to my desk and I’m going to write on it. So we’ll see how this goes.

Okay, here you go. Here’s the question of the day. Well, some answers for the question of the day. International sign for radiation and a lawnmower. What do these have to do with each other and what do these have to do with dentistry? So you have the little question mark. (That’s how they do it online.) Anyway, so what do these things have to do with each other? A lot of people come in and say, “I don’t want to get dental x-rays taken,” because of why, not because of the lawn mower. They don’t want to get dental x-rays taken because of the radiation. They say, “Radiation is bad for me.” Anything is bad for you in certain quantities, okay? Water is definitely good for you, but drink 4 gallons of water at one time and you’ll suffer something called water toxicity and you will die…And that’s just from water.

So, yes, anything can be dangerous. It’s all about the quantities. So let’s talk about the quantities. Radiation is measured in milliSieverts. That’s the name of the unit. So many units of milliSieverts. Higher units can cause more damage to your body. Lower units will cause less. How many milliSieverts of radiation do you get taking one dental x-ray? Well, it’s 0.02 milliSieverts – not even one full unit. It’s 0.02 units of milliSieverts. Well, you get 4 dental x-rays when you come in, so you get 0.08 milliSieverts of radiation a year from being at the dentist. Now, where does the lawnmower come in? This 0.08 per year…Is that a high number or is that a low number? What do you got to compare it to? Well, let’s go over this.

Radiation from the sun – just from cosmic radiation, just from existing on the planet – depends on where you live. I practice dentistry in the Intermountain West… So Salt Lake, Denver, those kinds of altitudes. So to live in Salt Lake City for 1 year, you will get 6 milliSieverts of radiation in 1 year. That’s just from living. That’s just from mowing your lawn and swimming in the pool and walking your dog and playing basketball in the driveway. Just existing at these kind of altitudes, that’s how much radiation you can expect to get per year. That doesn’t include things like Radon gas and whatever. There’s a lot of stuff out there that can give you radiation. So you get 6 milliSieverts a year from just living, from just mowing your lawn.

You get 0.08 per year of radiation, which means you would have to get 75 dental x-rays to equal one year of just existing. Now, obviously, you want to eliminate as much radiation as possible. But can you imagine, sticking the little radiation thing up against your head and pressing that thing 75 times and giving yourself 75 x-rays. No. We only give you 4 x-rays. So you get this… There’s no way that you’re going to get 75 x-rays in a year. So, radiation can be bad absolutely in larger quantities. But please remember that this is what you get just from living. This is what you get at your dentist once a year. X-rays are something that are so, so valuable and so important in helping us to diagnose what’s going on in your mouth and saving you time and saving you money and saving you pain. So please, be afraid of the radiation but not to the levels that are at your dentist’s office. Have a good one.