Essential Dental X-ray Room Design and Shielding Requirements

Discover the Exact Elements That Make a Successful Dental X-ray Room Design, Complete with Shielding Requirements, Layout, and X-ray Equipment.

X-ray procedures are essential for dentists to evaluate the overall oral health of their patients. Unlike routine dental examinations, X-rays can help identify and limit problems such as infections, decay, and bone loss through internal imaging. A recommendation by dentists is for every patient to have at least one X-ray scan a year, so dental rooms must be appropriately built with appropriate X-ray requirements meeting government regulations in radiation protection. Not applying the appropriate shielding requirements in X-ray areas has been linked to severe health issues such as brain cancer and parotid gland tumours.

Dental X-ray Room Design

As a dental architect or designer, creating the correct X-ray area specifications for the practice is critical for the effectiveness and efficiency of treatment, the ergonomics of staff, and the overall patient experience.

Define Design Goals

The first stage of your dental X-ray design is establishing goals with the dental practitioner. These goals can vary among dental specialities, such as endodontic, orthodontic, pediatric and oral Surgery.

Each speciality will request different requirements to fulfil its dental operations effectively. So, firstly, establish the appropriate design goals in line with the specified X-ray requirements. Before creating the room, the designer and dentist must consider what radiographic examinations take place. Meeting the needs of the patient along with operation space and installation of the necessary equipment are three core elements key to the success of the X-ray dental room layout.


The comfort of the dentist and their assistant during operations alongside the patient is essential to the ergonomic considerations applied to the room design. For example, extended procedures demand a relaxed environment, ideal for open and comfortable operational space. However, convenient and flexible reconfigurations during X-ray procedures require speed and adaptability. Once again, the relevant ergonomics will depend on the dental speciality and various types of X-ray procedures.

4 Key X-ray Dental Room Features

Prioritising certain positions for vital elements is critical in the design of a successful X-ray dental room. For example, electrical equipment is easily adjustable, while plumbing is difficult to move once in place. So, firstly, locate the drains that will connect to your 40mm plastic waste pipes. Secondly, consider how any sinks, suction devices, and chairs will be positioned in correspondence to drainage. Finally, after considering the plumbing, you can focus on the dimensions and positioning of the equipment.

1. Dimensions

We recommend the length of the room be at least 3400 mm. Typically, cabinets and worktops are 600mm deep, with the gap to the head of the chair being a minimum of 650mm. The average chair is 1800mm and requires at least 350mm at the foot. The area must also accommodate the following in dimensions:

  • X-ray generator and CBCT (Cone-beam computed tomography) scanner.
  • Lead apron coat hooks.
  • Mobile delivery cart and assistant cart.
  • Wall-mounted microscope.

Remember, the larger the space, the more comfortable the patient will feel and the more pleasurable experience they should receive.

2. X-ray equipment

The location of the X-ray machine should direct any primary radiation beam directed at a shielded area. If the distance is less than three meters between the radiation point and the patient or staff, then a partition wall should stand between them to shield the person from any radiation exposure.

For stationary X-ray systems, an X-ray exposure button must be mounted in a protected area for the operator. In any operations where intra-oral X-ray equipment is installed, the X-ray tube housing assemblies must be mounted six feet high unless barriers are situated at the foot of the patient’s chair.

Mobile X-ray machines must have an X-ray exposure button located at the end of a 12-foot-long cord. Raybloc offers Mobile X-Ray Screens for fast protection and convenient flexibility, assisting with the operation of mobile dental X-ray procedures.

3. Dental Chair

At these dimensions, the dental chair is restricted to two or three positions. Depending on the cabinet positioning and X-ray equipment, the chair can be placed horizontally, diagonally, or straight through the centre.

4. Cabinets and worktops

Cabinets and worktops can be installed in three methods:

  • A ‘straight run’ along one wall.
  • An ‘L’ shape along two walls.
  • A ‘U’ shape across three walls.

These cabinets and worktops can be customised in dimension before manufacturing, so less consideration is required compared to other elements, such as plumbing and overall patient experience.

Dental X-ray Room Shielding Requirements

Before dental practices and radiology departments hire an architect to draw out an X-ray room, they should contact their local Radiation Protection Adviser (RPA) to validate specific requirements. A dental practice can’t assume CBCT equipment has low enough radiation levels until verified by a professional RPA. We have a list of local RPAs available on our website covering large parts of the UK.

Three guidelines to reduce operator exposure to radiation are “position”, “distance”, and “shielding”. Relevant positioning and distances between X-ray equipment and people, alongside appropriate protection are essential for the overall safety and quality of the room.

Dental X-ray room design - Raybloc Xray Protection

Radiation Shielding Walls

Conventions for intraoral X-ray imaging procedures legitimise dry walls, ceilings, and floors of two-inch thickness to provide adequate shielding against radiation exposure. However, depending on the distance between the X-ray equipment and the patient or staff, protective shielding is required to install.

Raybloc provides lead-lined panels, perfect for assembling protective partition barriers during X-ray examinations. Our protective panels consist of lead-backed plywood and plasterboard and can be manufactured to suit the amount of lead shielding you require.


Radiation Protective Internal Windows

Windows used to observe patients during X-ray procedures must contain one-half inch of glass to reduce exposure. We offer X ray Protective Viewing Windows that can be applied for dental patient analysis and radiation protection. Built to NHS HTM standards and hygiene regulations, our windows are available in multiple panel options and can be specified in any shape or size.

Other Ionizing Radiation Shielding Materials and Equipment

All other shielding materials and equipment for X-ray operation and protective areas must contain a minimum thickness of 0.2mm of lead. Barriers surrounding dental X-ray rooms containing intra-oral X-ray equipment must be at least six-feet high and consist of materials capable of reducing scattered radiation. Finally, no line of sight is allowed between patients or staff and the X-ray tube housing assembly whilst in operation. Raybloc offers mobile radiation protective screens, available in both panoramic glazing and with a flush viewing window for a modern, easy-to-clean shield that can be put into place whenever in use.

Need any Help With Your X-ray Dental Room Design?

For over 20 years, Raybloc has worked closely with dental professionals and provided specialist X-ray protection to keep professionals, patients, and staff safe. In gaining a thorough understanding of specific requirements and applying client feedback to our protective products, we can offer affordable, reliable, and fully bespoke products for your surgery.


How thick should the lead be in a wall of a diagnostic x-ray room?

The amount of lead required for your walls, ceiling, and floor for any controlled area can only be dictated by a radiation shielding professional. These professionals are known as Radiation Protection Advisors (RPAs) and will use the measurements of your room, the frequency of operation and the power of your X-ray equipment to determine how much lead is required at each point in your room. Once you have this information, Raybloc can provide you with a quote quickly and easily for your radiation shielding needs.

How is an X-ray room different to any other room?

Given X-ray rooms will contain ionizing radiation at a given point in the day, it is essential to make sure that radiation does not leave the room and potentially come into contact with someone who it was not intended for as this can lead to serious adverse health effects. To prevent radiation from leaving the room, the walls, ceiling, and floor can be lined with sheets of lead metal that will attenuate the radiation provided it is thick enough. To determine how thick your lead will need to be, or if it will be required at all, contact a Radiation Protection Adviser (RPA).

To find out more about our X-ray protection products, download our eBook today.

Lead Lined Wall Panelling

Do not skip corners when it comes to radiation protection. It is what shields you, your staff, and your patients from harmful radiation. There is no compromise when it comes to people’s lives. Follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

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