An alarming new study has shown that the current regime of dental X-rays may be insufficient to adequately detect potential periodontal pathologies. For example, in the USA dentists will routinely take a set of 18 X-rays at each biannual visit. Every other year a full-body scan of 36 images is taken. The current trial, sponsored by the American Association of Dentists (AAD), recommends that an extra six X-rays are taken quarterly to thoroughly assess the possibility of “damage we can’t see by looking in your mouth”. They are also investigating the possibility of a home X-ray machine that could be used for any additional incidental imaging. The machine would simply capture the patient’s health insurance details and then an unlimited number of X-rays could be taken.
Dentists appear unanimous in their support of the new recommendations. Dr. Ray D. Atemore, a spokesperson for the AAD told TTT:
“People think that we don’t ever look at their imaging results, that it’s just some sort of insurance scam. In fact the results are vital to your dental health, there might be problems that we just cannot see by regular clinical examination; an extensive collection of X-ray films from a young age is the key to a healthier smile”
The new study points out that with the introduction of new digital X-ray technology the procedure is even safer, with less exposure for the recipient. A lead vest is still recommended and dental nurses are advised to run out of the room quickly before irradiating the patient.