Don't like taking x-rays? We understand! Please read questions and answers posted below that will explain why we take them and how safe the procedure is in our office. 


Q: Are dental x-rays necessary?

A: Yes, many diseases and conditions such as tooth decay and gum disease cannot be detected by simply looking into your mouth. Some oral diseases may effect your general health or become life threatening. Many conditions produce no signs or symptoms. Without dental x-rays these conditions may go undetected for long time. As these conditions progress, extensive damage and pain may occur. 

Q: Can I refuse x-rays and be treated without them?   

A: No. When you refuse dental x-rays the dentist cannot treat you. The standard of care requires that the dentist refuses treatment when patient refuses x-rays that are necessary. Treatment without necessary x-rays is considered neglectful. 

Q: How much radiation will I receive from dental x-ray?

A: Because no amount of radiation is considered as safe, strict guidelines are followed to limit the amount of x-radiation you receive. Dr. Kim custom-orders each x-ray based on individual needs of every patient for additional care. During exposure a thyroid collar, a lead apron, digital imaging (we have the newest equipment in our office), and a beam alignment device will be used to protect you from radiation. 

To put it into perspective, when an F-speed film is used, a single intraoral film results in surface skin exposure of 125 milliroentgens. For x-rays to produce any permanent skin damage, such as skin cancer , exposure in the range of thousands of roentgen is needed. Such exposures are not possible with dental equipment. Bite wing series of 4 approximately the same as 3 days of background radiation. Full moth series the same as 4 days of background radiation. Panoramic film the same as 2-3 days of background radiation. Flying from Seattle to Disneyland (Florida) is exposure of 20 vSr or about one panoramic film. Additionally, the digital imaging equipment used in our office, reduces your exposure even further.

Q: Why do you leave room when x-rays are used?

A: When you are exposed to x-rays, you receive the diagnostic benefit of the dental radiographs. I do not receive any benefit. Since I do not benefit from your x-ray I must use proper protection measures. One of the most effective way for me to limit my x-ray exposure is to maintain adequate distance and shielding which is why I step out the room during your x-ray exposure.   

Q: Will dental x-rays cause cancer?

A: Not a single recorded case of a patient developing cancer from diagnostic x-rays exist. The radiation exposure during dental x-rays is very small. 

Q: What are the advantages of digital x- rays?

A: Digital imaging requires less exposure to radiation (up to 92%) which benefits the patients. Digital information is also easier to store, transmit, and manipulate electronically. 

Q: Who owns my dental radiographs?

A: All your dental records, including dental radiographs are the property of the dentist. As a patient, however, we want you to have the privilege of accessing your dental records. You can request a copy of your dental radiographs or request that a copy be sent to a dentist of your choice. 

Q: What is the ALARA concept?

A: The ALARA (As Low As Reasonably Achievable) concept states that all the exposure to radiation must be kept to a minimum. To provide protection to both patients and operator, every possible method of reducing exposure to radiation should be employed to minimize the risk.