The radiation involved in imaging can be hazardous to patients, especially children. Dr. Dale Miles has given the problem some thought and has written an article explaining how a dentist can create a safe, effective x-ray practice. He offers seven how-to tips in this report.
1. Develop a one-page, brief, bullet-point explanation sheet. This can help explain to parents the steps the dentist takes to minimize a child’s x-ray exposure.
2. Explain to a parent how you will examine a child to determine the need for any x-rays. Explain how frequently x-rays may be needed, depending on whether the child has dental disease that will require follow-ups.
3. Show the thyroid collar to both parent and child. Briefly explain why it helps protect thyroid tissues.
4. If you use or adopt a rectangular collimation product, explain how rectangular collimation limits the beam to a smaller area. Explain how the use of this device will reduce retakes.
5. If you use phosphor plates or solid-state detectors or even the fastest F-speed film, explain how it is more sensitive and requires less exposure time. This might be part of a procedural protocol provided to patients.
6. If you are using a contemporary X-ray machine, show the parent the child icon on the machine and explain that it automatically selects a shorter time for the child.
7. Locate and reprint external evidence of how low dental X-ray doses really are. Dr. Miles suggests that dentists should have a handout showing external evidence of how the risks of dental x-rays compare to other things, such as eating peanut butter or drinking wine.
Dr. Dale A. Miles, D.D.S., M.S., F.R., is an Oral and Maxillofacial Radiologist in Fountain Hills, Arizona and president of EasyRiter, LLC. Formerly, he was a professor of Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology and Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs at the Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health (ASDOH). Dentist News Network is a featured network of Sequence Media Group.