Radiation Conversation

Another media-induced panic about dental radiation seems to be rearing it’s ugly head thanks to our media system.  The most recent nationally published article linked dental X-radiation to brain cancer.  Scary huh?

Well, what the article didn’t do a very good job explaining (actually did a LOUSY job) was that the study used the arbitrary and subjective recall memories of patients when asked a question about previous dental X-rays.  These adult patients were asked if they remembered having Xrays at the dentist as a child.  No history, no dates, no descriptions of what type of Xrays.  Then if the patient said yes, the researchers ASSUMED which Xrays were taken, and with what type of equipment. Some of these patients were 50, 60, 70 years old.  So they were asked to remember something specific that took place 45-65 years ago.  No other medical histories, family histories, or risk factors for the patients were considered.

Sounds like a well-thought research study to me…

And in the last paragraph of the article, the writer states that the benefits of proper dental xrays outweigh the minimal risk that those Xrays pose, and the writer goes on to say that this should not be considered as a reason not to have dental Xrays.  It should be considered as a reason to limit the Xrays to those needed for proper diagnosis.  Well, any dental office worth their toothpaste doesn’t take Xrays that aren’t necessary for proper diagnosis.  And without those Xrays, a complete and thorough exam cannot be completed, and patients run the risk of simple problems now becoming involved problems later.

Dental Xrays are safe.  The studies lopsidedlly prove that.  Please talk to your dentist if you have concerns.  He or she should be able to clearly and concisely answer your questions.