Are dental radiographs safe?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Dental patients are often aware that radiation has the potential to harm them but they do not usually understand how or why and what potential harmful effects may arise from dental radiographs. The potential for undesirable effects must be balanced against the benefits obtained from radiographs. Dentists should address the concerns of patients who question the need for radiographs and allow them to make an informed decision. Data are available that relate radiation exposure levels from medical and dental radiographs to normal background exposure levels and allow comparisons with everyday risks in life. Recognized radiation authorities publish guidelines to help dentists with their use of radiographs, although, due to the time lag associated with testing and the publication of results, some of the published data may not always be entirely relevant to currently used X-ray machines and techniques. Dentists also have professional obligations not only to limit the use of radiographs to potentially beneficial situations but also to take good quality diagnostic radiographs, to limit the doses used, to use good radiation safety measures and to use modern equipment to achieve the best possible films. Radiographs must then be properly developed and viewed under appropriate conditions to gain the maximum possible diagnostic information from each exposure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)208-213
Number of pages6
JournalAustralian Dental Journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2000
Externally publishedYes


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