Dental x-rays are routine parts of regular dental cleanings and exams, yet many patients resist them for fear of “unnecessary” radiation exposure. Brighton family dentists Dr. Thomas Villani and Dr. Richard Kondrat use dental x-rays to take a “beneath-the-surface” look at what’s going on inside your mouth and on your teeth and gums, and they agree that dental x-rays are extremely valuable tools to help them treat their patients in the most comprehensive and advanced way possible.

That’s why it concerns them when patients resist these radiographic images. Read on to find out more about dental x-rays and why you’re limiting the care Dr. Villani and Dr. Kondrat can provide for you every time you resist a dental x-ray.

How much radiation is in a dental x-ray?

Measured in a unit called a rem (more commonly used as a millirem, or mrem), radiation is just a part of daily life. The National Council on Radiation Protection reports that the average U.S. citizen absorbs upwards of 360 mrem each year from sources including radioactive materials in the earth and food we eat, smoke detectors, living in a brick house, cooking with natural gas, reading a book for more than three hours a day, flying in an airplane, and sleeping next to another person.

Can you guess how many mrems of radiation you’re exposed during a typical dental x-ray?

Only 2 or 3—just a fraction of your yearly radiation absorption rate.

Will you still resist a dental x-ray at your next dental appointment?

We hope not. We live in a scientifically and technologically advanced society, and these tools and devices are used for a reason: they help us provide you with quality health care. Often, dental x-rays are the first images to alert us that something is wrong inside of your mouth and, because these images see much deeper than the naked eye can see, this early detection allows us to treat you effectively, efficiently, and conservatively to maintain the health of your smile. A small amount of radiation is a small price to pay for this level of thoroughness and protection.

For more information about the imaging and other technology systems we use at Brighton Family Dental Group, call our office at (617) 562-5210 or visit us online at