Recently the journal Cancer published a study that appeared to link regular dental x-rays with an increased risk for meningioma. Despite several inherent flaws in the research, many media outlets covered the story without explaining some of the important details.
Yesterday the Academy of General Dentistry came out with a response which should resolve any concerns you might have with this issue. According to the press release, “the study’s findings are not applicable to modern dentistry because the study was based upon an examination of outdated radiographic techniques, which produced considerably more radiation than patients would be exposed to today.”
If your dentist is using digital x-rays, you should be just fine. Digital radiology significantly reduces the amount of radiation to which you are exposed in the dental office. In fact, with digital technology, the amount of radiation you receive from one “bitewing” x-ray (the most common in periodic exams) is equivalent to a few days worth of backround environmental radiation exposure – that’s the radiation you get just by living here on earth.
So, how do you know if your dental office is using digital x-rays? Well, if you’re a patient at Bountiful Dental, rest assured, we are using the very latest in modern dental technology including digital x-rays. Otherwise, just pay attention to what the x-rays look like. If they’re on a computer screen then yes, they are digital. If the x-ray is on a film that has to be held against a light, it’s not digital.
This isn’t the first time a media outlet has caused some concern regarding the risks of cancer from x-rays. Last year Dr. Oz did a show on thyroid cancer, explaining that without the use of a thyroid collar, you increase your risk of developing thyroid cancer from dental x-rays and mammograms. By using a thyroid collar, in addition to digital technology, this additional risk is avoided. As Missy and Raegen demonstrate below, we definitely use a thyroid collar.
At Bountiful Dental, our patients are important to us. Not only do we care about your dental health, but we value total health and well-being.
For more information about dental x-rays and meningioma, please read the entire press release from the AGD.