Radiographs are an intrinsic part of many dental treatments, however many basic questions are oftern unanswered.
How can you reduce the risk of radiation? What measures should you take? What is the role of the patient and doctors in this process?
Here we will present with you with some important points to ponder next time you have an X-ray:
First and foremost as a patient and as doctors it is very important to determine that the X-ray exam is necessary. Although X-rays are safe, radiation is a cumulative process, a person will go through various exams during their lifetime and the best way to protect you from radiation is not to overuse it. Under no circumstance is a routine X ray justifiable.
When taking an X-ray examination, it is recommended to set it at a level called: As Low As Reasonably Achievable (ALARA) in order to produce the required image quality.
Equipment should always have routine maintenance, quality control, gone through formal testing and has all the features to reduce radiation doses.
Lead aprons do provide some protection in certain types of examinations such as vertex occlusal and will also protect patients who are pregnant. The use of a lead apron usually gives the patient the assurance that everything is done so that they can feel safe. Every patient has the right to ask for a lead apron and it should be provided when requested.
Lead aprons should also be used when the equipment or technique has not been verified by a radiation protection specialist.
The thyroid is one of the most sensitive organs in the body to radiation and whenever the thyroid is in the main beam, a thyroid collar should be used.
Radiation exposure from dental radiology is low, however children will start to undergo different types of treatments since early years through adolescence and adulthood. Radiation exposure can have a cumulative effect in the body and this should be taken into consideration. The salivary glands are also at risk in dental radiology and they are usually within the primary beam, the thyroid usually receives scattered radiation. It is recommended to shield the thyroid in children as this organ is radio-sensitive.
In all cases where a person for example, a family member is holding or supporting patients during an exposure, a lead apron should be provided for their protection.
By: Prisma Dental
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