Dental x-rays not a cancer risk; tips for working with special needs patients

Dear DrBicuspid Member,

Concerns about a possible relationship between dental x-rays and increased risk of oral cancer were raised last year after research published in the journal Cancer claimed to have found a link between frequent bitewing x-ray exposure and increased risk of developing meningioma, a benign brain tumor.

The Cancer study prompted a flurry of media coverage and outcry from organized dentistry, followed by a number of studies intended to empirically debunk the findings. Now a new study in Radiation Protection Dosimetry lends further support to the notion that predictions about cancer risk for patients exposed to radiation from dental bitewings are "highly speculative" and should be discouraged. Read more.

Meanwhile, over in the Oral Cancer & Diagnostics Community, researchers around the globe continue to search for ways to improve not only the detection and treatment of oral cancer but also the debilitating side effects of radiation and surgical therapies. Click here to read how a Texas team is using near-infrared fluorescence optical imaging and injectable fluorescent dyes to better understand how the lymphatic system is affected in head and neck cancer patients.

And patients with special needs are often turned away from dental practices that feel they are ill-equipped to work with them. But there are simple, cost-effective ways to interact with these patients, according to a registered dental assistant who is also the mother of two children with special needs. Read more in this latest Practice Management Community feature.

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