What Can Dental Professionals Do to Reduce X-Ray Radiation Exposure?

The Image Gently campaign of the Alliance for Radiation Safety in Pediatric Imaging is an effort to lower radiation doses in imaging of children. In this report Dr. Dale Miles explains how using the fastest image receptors possible can help dentists and hygienists to achieve that objective.

Dr. Dale Miles

Dr. Dale Miles

Dr. Miles says that American dentists have been somewhat slow to adopt solid state digital receptors in taking dental x-rays. The technology dates to the 1980s. In spite of this, only 55% of dentists have moved to the new technology. With these digital receptors, “the exposure times are so short that the actual dose to the patient is dramatically reduced.” Solid state wire detectors should be a dentist’s first choice unless the situation is such that something with a wire is inappropriate to use on a particular child.

Dr. Miles also notes that there are new devices that can help to reduce x-ray exposure for children. There are panoramic machines that allow a dentist to take extra oral bite wings. These cavity detecting images can be taken externally without any receptor in the patient’s mouth. These devices also reduce radiation exposure for children.

Dr. Miles explains that one solution for helping dentists and hygienists reduce x-ray exposure to children is the use of the Tru-Image™ device as an add-on to a dental x-ray machine. The Tru-Image package includes a rubber adapter ring to let the device attach to the x-ray machine a dentist already owns. A ring device then attaches, and that piece collimates the x-ray beam to the size of the receptor that will be in the patient’s mouth. This system produces very accurate x-rays, eliminating the need for retakes. The device also reduces the patient’s exposure to x-rays significantly.

Another measure to reduce x-ray exposure to children is the use of the thyroid collar. Dr. Miles explains that the thyroid glands in children are very sensitive to radiation. Adult thyroid tissue doesn’t have this sensitivity.

Dr. Dale A. Miles, D.D.S., M.S., F.R., is an Oral and Maxillofacial Radiologist in Fountain Hills, Arizona andpresident 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.

Posted on July 5, 2016 .