Using Cone-Beam CT to Reduce X-Ray Radiation Exposure

Reducing children’s exposure to x-rays is a continuing concern for dentists and others. Dr. Dale Miles explains that this is not only desirable but achievable. He points out the obvious point that adults have bigger, thicker head and jaw structures than children, so less radiation is required to produce an image. Children, especially those under the age of nine, require far less exposure time than adults.

Dr. Dale Miles

Dr. Dale Miles

And solid-state receptors can lower the radiation considerably. For example, for a dentist who still uses film-based receptors, the x-ray of a child’s tooth might take an exposure time of 0.4 seconds. A solid state receptor would reduce the exposure time to 0.04 seconds, a very big difference. Dr. Miles says that the tendency to use the same setting for every patient just can’t be done. “You have to actually determine how big the subject is.” Children are smaller than adults and need less radiation.

Cone-beam computed tomography “is dentistry’s newest, fanciest and most rapidly-adopted technology.” Dr. Miles explains that cone-beam CT is somewhat like panoramic imaging but only requires one pass around a patient’s head to get the data needed to produce a 3-D image. The device produces black and white and color images. Cone-beam CT provides some imaging of the teeth that make it possible for a dentist to plan for future procedures with assurance of what a patient’s jaw and teeth look like.

Dr. Miles says that ENT doctors are finding some interesting uses for the cone-beam imaging. Cone-beam CT works very well for the study of sinus conditions and is preferred because the dosage is so much lower than other imaging methods.

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.

Posted on July 5, 2016 .