SUMMARY The aim of this study was to assess effective doses of a lateral cephalogram radiograph with and without thyroid shield and compare the differences with the radiation dose of a hand-wrist radiograph.Thermoluminescent dosimeters were placed at 19 different sites in the head and neck of a tissue-equivalent human skull (RANDO phantom). Analogue lateral cephalograms with and without thyroid shield (67kV, 250 mA, 10 mAs) and hand-wrist radiographs (40kV, 250 mA, 10 mAs) were obtained. The effective doses were calculated using the 2007 International Commission on Radiological Protection recommendations.The effective dose for conventional lateral cephalogram without a thyroid shield was 5.03 microsieverts (µSv). By applying a thyroid shield to the RANDO phantom, a remarkable dose reduction of 1.73 µSv could be achieved. The effective dose of a conventional hand-wrist radiograph was calculated to be 0.16 µSv. Adding the effective dose of the hand-wrist radiograph to the effective dose of the lateral cephalogram with thyroid shield resulted in a cumulative effective dose of 3.46 µSv. Without thyroid shield, the effective dose of a lateral cephalogram was approximately 1.5-fold increased than the cumulative effective dose of a hand-wrist radiograph and a lateral cephalogram with thyroid shield.Thyroid is an organ that is very sensitive to radiation exposure. Its shielding will significantly reduce the effective dose. An additional hand-wrist radiograph, involving no vulnerable tissues, however, causes very little radiation risk. In accordance with the ALARA (As Low As Reasonably Achievable) principle, if an evaluation of skeletal age is indicated, an additional hand-wrist radiograph seems much more justifiable than removing the thyroid shield.