Thursday, January 06, 2005 ADA News: Dental radiation protection ADA News: Dental radiation protection

Dental radiation protection
Minimum patient exposure, quality images focus of new report

By Mark Berthold

Bethesda, Md. — Maximum X-ray quality with minimum radiation exposure to patient and operator.

That's important, and how dentists can manage it is explained in Radiation Protection in Dentistry, a new report from the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements.

The NCRP is a nongovernmental, not-for-profit educational and scientific organization working in the public interest.

NCRP Report No. 145 provides the dentist with guidance on using radiographs in dental practice, including office design and shielding, equipment design, clinical techniques, image receptors, darkroom procedures and quality assurance.

The report, which supersedes the report, Dental X-Ray Protection, that the NCRP issued in 1970, also includes patient information, such as data on the magnitude of effective doses from typical dental radiograph procedures, and general statements that dentists can use to inform patients about the nature of risks associated with these doses.

"Whenever you collimate the radiograph and thus, reduce the size of the beam, then you improve the radiograph quality because there is less scatter. The radiograph is clearer and image quality is improved," says Dr. Fred Medwedeff, widely regarded as the father of rectangular collimation. "Most important, the area of human tissue being irradiated is reduced."

Adds Dr. Arthur Jeske, chair of the ADA Council on Scientific Affairs, "The general recommendations in the NCRP Report are in agreement with the council's. This report is relevant to practicing dentists because it presents specific methods and procedures for radiation protection in their offices."

For more information on Report No. 145, Radiation Protection in Dentistry, contact the NCRP by phone at 1-301-657-2652, Ext. 25, or visit

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