CDA offers radiation safety information

A recent article published by Consumer Reports cautions readers about the radiation they receive from diagnostic imaging, noting the effects are cumulative over time and suggesting all those taken may not be necessary.

In particular, the article suggests that many people can wait longer between routine dental X-rays (24-36 months for bite-wings). Unfortunately, the article did not attempt to describe the conditions under which longer intervals between dental X-rays is warranted, nor did it discuss the oral conditions for which dental X-rays aid diagnosis.

While the Consumer Reports article may result in more patients asking about the need for the X-rays dentists recommend, it is always important to listen to patient concerns and respond with information that helps them understand the rationale for a recommendation.

The ADA has sent a Letter to the Editor of Consumer Reports about the article. In the letter, Thomas Hart, DDS, PhD, chair of the ADA Council on Scientific Affairs, indicates the article “contains misleading dental X-ray information,” and “does not reflect dental X-ray recommendations developed by the American Dental Association and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration."

For more information on how to communicate with patients on radiation safety, view the Communicating Radiation Safety to Your Patients resource on cda.org. Also available is the Radiation Safety in Dental Practice guide. Additionally, recommendations for patient selection and limiting radiation exposure can be accessed at ada.org.

Updated on 02/20/15