Our Dental X-Rays Policy

The Today show ran a piece on April 10th describing the results of a study reported in the medical journal, “American Cancer Society”. In the study it was reported that “Exposure to some dental x-rays performed in the past, when radiation exposure was greater than in the current era, appears to be associated with an increased risk of intracranial meningioma. As with all sources of artificial ionizing radiation, considered use of this modifiable risk factor may be of benefit to patients.”

We thought it would be prudent to clarify how we use ionizing radiation in our dental practice.

There is no question that radiation in any dose needs to be administered with caution and only if the benefits outweighs the risk of such treatment. Keeping this in mind, all of the radiation we use at Retter Dental Care is digital. This allows us to reduce the traditional radiation used in those old small dental films by between 75-95%. That means that because our xrays are captured by electronic sensors rather than traditional films, the sensors are much more sensitive and allow us to reduce the exposure dose. This is true for our bitewings, Panorex and dental CT scan. The study that has been mentioned on news networks refers to the level of radiation in the older analog style dental films that have long been removed from our office.

Our radiation levels are equivalent to a few days of background radiation. What that means is that you will inadvertently get the same radiation dose from a digital panoramic film as you would from the radiation that exists from the sun, wireless networks and other radiation we are exposed to on a daily basis.

On top of the low doses that our patients are exposed to when they do have an xray, we also adhere to the ALARA principle. What this means is that we always consider the risks involved and only take an xray when it is absolutely necessary based on the diagnostic value it will provide. ALARA means ‘as low a level as reasonably achievable’ and we consider this doctrine in our office.