Saturday, 2 October 2010


The usual check up at the dentist’s. There is work to do and he wants to check the tooth he treated half a year ago. This means a photo. Or actually three because the first two where too dark and unclear. He always makes loads of photos. X-ray photos as you might have guessed. Finaly we made an appointment for the next Friday to replace some fillings and do other stuff that has to be done.

“How was it at the dentist?” – a friend asked later today.
“He made some photos, as usual” – I answered.
“Ow, but that’s not good for your health. It brings damage on DNA-level” – he said.

HELP!!!! My DNA is being ruined! Suddenly I was covered
by a wave of panic. Huh? Usually I don’t have to think twice before taking in a heavy antibiotic to cure whatever even though I know my liver might suffer. My stomach probably looks like a colander by now because of all the painkillers I use to fight my headaches, but that doesn’t bother me. But my DNA is apparently off limits. You can’t touch it! I’m not very consistent in my concerns about my health, am I?


  1. Do not worry, you have a nice resource of DNA repair enzymes in your body!
    otherwise you would already be dead because of natural radiation.
    But à dentist who Makes pictures too dark? That would worry me!

  2. Well, the pictures are made by the assistant of course...

  3. The replication of damaged DNA through cell division before DNA repair can lead to the incorporation of wrong bases opposite damaged ones. Daughter cells that inherit these wrong bases carry mutations from which the original DNA sequence is unrecoverable - in other words: you're going to the dogs!

  4. Yeh! But fortunatly this mis-incorparation only happens in very few cases. Otherwise mankind would not exist!

  5. Apart from x-rays there are muons, protons, alpha particles, pions, electrons and neutrons. This radiation is much more intense in the upper troposphere, around 10 km altitude. Three dental x-ray image exposures are comparable with about two international flights, from Holland to Italy and back.

  6. What?! International flights ruin my DNA?!

  7. A one way flight greatly reduces the risk.

  8. If your dentist takes a photo each time you visit him and you visit him not less than twice a year, in few years you can create a nice movie by combining all the photos (in ascending order). Suggested name: "Teeth evolution"...


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