ADA updates dental radiograph recommendations

The ADA has released updated recommendations for the prescription of dental radiographic exams.

"Dental Radiographic Examinations: Recommendations for Patient Selection and Limiting Radiation Exposure," which was last updated in 2004, should serve in conjunction with dentists' professional judgment regarding when it's appropriate to use diagnostic imaging.

Since 1989, the ADA has recommended the ALARA principle in relation to dental x-rays: that radiation exposure to patients is "as low as reasonably achievable."

The ADA's Council on Scientific Affairs (CSA) consulted with dental radiology experts about a year ago to update the recommendations. The CSA then sent the recommendations for peer review and for review by nondental organizations such as the Conference of Radiation Control Program Directors and the American Association of Physicists in Medicine. The recommendations are intended to serve as a resource for dentists and are not intended to be standards of care, requirements, or regulations.

Highlights of the updated recommendations include the following:

  • Updates to patient shielding recommendations
  • Addition of a new section on limiting radiation exposure during radiographic examinations
  • New topics such as receptor selection, handheld x-ray units, technique charts, and radiation risk communication
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