Several news agencies have recently published reports on a study that suggested an association between the frequency of dental x-rays with meningioma; a commonly diagnosed brain tumour.
The study concluded that, “Exposure to some dental x-rays performed in the past, when radiation exposure was greater than in the current era, appears to be associated with an increased risk of intracranial meningioma. As with all sources of artificial ionizing radiation, considered use of this modifiable risk factor may be of benefit to patients.”
These conclusions serve as a reminder for dentists to adhere to the ALARA principle-to keep the amount of patient radiation exposure at as low a level as reasonably achievable, but at the same time provide an adequate radiological examination capable of providing an accurate diagnosis.
Dentists can refer to the CDA Position on Control of X-radiation in Dentistry for more details. The CDA position emphasizes that the frequency of a radiological examination is a matter of clinical judgment. The selection of equipment and techniques used is the decision of a dentist. The aim of the CDA position is to ensure that dental offices comply with the ALARA principle and keep the amount of patient radiation exposure at as low a level as reasonably achievable, given current accepted radiological practice.