Whilst many dental surgeries still use film, Cornerstone Dental has invested in digital radiography. These produce sharp images that are available for viewing on a computer screen instantly- no waiting for processing and developing the film. It provides us with quick and accurate radiographic images which will aid in the diagnosis of tooth, bone and gum diseases. More importantly, the use of digital technology means that the exposure to radiation is a fraction of the radiation for film based X-rays making it an extremely safe procedure for patients. The dentist must ensure that radiological examinations are carried out properly at all times during the course of dental treatment.
We can compare just how small dental radiation is with the natural environmental background radiation we receive everyday, and other x-ray/radiation sources in the table below.
|EXAMINATION||EFFECTIVE DOS (mSv)||EQUIVALENT PERIOD OF NATURAL BACKGROUND RADIATION1|
|2 Bitewings, 70kV, 200mm FSD2, rectangular collimation, E-speed film||0.002||8.8 hours|
|2 Bitewings, 70kV, 200mm FSD2, round collimation, E-speed film||0.004||17.5 hours|
|Dental panoramic, rare-earth intensifying screens||0.007||1.3 days|
|Dental panoramic, calcium-tungstate intensifying screens||0.014||2.6 days|
|Computer temography: head||2||1 year|
New York to Paris (7hrs 25mins)
Melbourne to Perth (4 hours)
Table 1: Typical doses from some dental and medical radiographic examinations as well as air travel (After: Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency: Draft Code of Practice and Safety Guide for Radiation Protection in Dentistry (in preparation)).
1. Natural background radiation is approximately 2 mSv per year in Australia.
2. X-ray tube focus to skin distance
3. The radiation dose during air travel is due to increased exposure to cosmic radiation
The above quoted doses for dental radiography are small when compared with the total amount of background radiation received during the patient’s lifetime of, say, 25,000 days. It is also surprising how much extra radiation we receive during flights just from going higher into the atmosphere. However, these figures are not intended to encourage ‘routine’ radiography. Overall, we always try to keep radiation exposures ‘as low as reasonably possible’: there must be a definite clinical need for the radiographic record for diagnosis. With current digital technology, radiation exposure is so minimal that a lead apron is not required for most cases (read more about dental radiography and exceptions here. All images and medical records are computerised and strictly adhere to our privacy code.
For more information about the VistaScan Mini click here.