A Note About Radiation

Our practice is currently using digital x-ray. Digital x-ray has been demonstrated to have lower radiation comparing to the traditional film x-ray. This is beneficial for the patients, especially in an orthodontic practice where most patients are children under active growth who can be more sensitive to radiation.

In recent years, a new imaging technology called Cone Beam CT (CBCT) scan is available in dentistry. Some dental practices (usually oral surgery and orthodontics) have acquired this new technology. Its benefit is that it can develop a 3D image that can be valuable for treatment planning; however, it does have more radiation exposure for the patient. Comparing to the traditional digital x-rays (panoramic and lateral cephalometric films) taken for routine orthodontic treatment, a CBCT image can have any where from 4-47 times more radiation depending on the equipment and the settings used from the recent studies.

We do not argue that CBCT scan definitely has its diagnostic and therapeutic value; on the other hand, we also feel that most of the orthodontic patients do not need a CBCT image for their treatment. The use of CBCT scan must be justified over conventional dental x-rays where the perceived benefit must outweigh the risk of the additional radiation exposure. If we think the patient can be benefited from the CBCT image, we will arrange the image to be taken by a local oral surgery office. We believe that is the best way to avoid unnecessary radiation exposure and to protect our patients.