A common topic the media discusses from time to time is the
amount of radiation exposure that occurs in a dental or orthodontic
office. On November 22, 2010, The New York Times published
an article titled, “Radiation Worries for Children in Dentists’
Chairs.” In the article they discussed the usage of cone beam CT
scanners on children, and quoted Boston periodontist, Dr.
Nicholas Dello Russo saying “The parents of these children have
no idea about the amount of radiation used in these CT scans, and
even more frightening, neither do the dentists.” These types of
articles are typically catered to the lay public, where a quote from
an expert will convey the message that there is no such thing as safe
radiation. While this might be true to an extent, dental radiography
is safe, minimal and has an important role in a person’s overall
health when used judiciously.
To address the concerns and allay the fears of patients and their
parents who object or question the use of X-rays in dentistry and
orthodontics, the Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health
Postgraduate Orthodontics Program Class of 2013 created an educational
visual aid under the direction of their instructor, Clifford
Running, DDS. The goal of the graph is to be simple and informative,
comparing the radiation we encounter in our daily lives and
common medical tests to dental radiography. Through visual aids
such as this one, skeptical parents and patients can be clearly
informed of the amount of radiation exposure for all the types of
X-rays used in the orthodontic office, even cone beam CT. As one
can see, the amount of exposure in an orthodontic office is quite
low when compared to other common sources of radiation.
The information in the graph was gathered from a variety of
sources, the majority from the organizations Radiologyinfo.org
and Health Physician Services. The graph assumes the use of digital
dental radiography. The members of the orthodontic residency
program who created the graph are the following: Brad Milde,
Blake Hillstead, Ryan Bullen, Shruti Oruganti, Tien Srisurapol
and Trent Cox.
- Health Physicians Society. http://www.hps.org/publicinformation/ate/faqs/dentalpatientissuesq&a.html
- Radiologyinfo.org. http://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/safety/index.cfm?pg=sfty_xray
- Bogdanich, W., & Mcginty, J. C. (2010, November 22). Radiation Worries for Children in Dentists’ Chairs. The New York Times.
- Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/23/us/23scan.html