New Concerns Arise for Children’s Dental X-Rays

Children and adolescents are particularly vulnerable to radiation, which has led doctors start a national campaign to protect them by reducing their exposure to diagnostic radiation. But there is at least one place where the message has not taken hold -- the dental office.

Most dentists continue to use outmoded X-ray film that requires higher amounts of radiation. In addition, orthodontists are embracing a new scanning device that emits significantly more radiation than other methods. The device, known as a cone-beam CT scanner, provides 3-D images of teeth.

The New York Times reports:

“... [T]he cone beam’s popularity has been fueled in part by misinformation about its safety and efficacy, some of it coming from dentists paid ... by manufacturers ... Cone-beam CT scans can help dentists deal with complex cases ... But many experts in dental radiation have raised alarms about what they see as their indiscriminate use ... putting patients at risk, particularly younger ones.”

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