HDG Patients: Many of you have recently seen the article in Journal Cancer in which the study stated that “dental X-rays double the risk of brain cancer”. I would like to take this opportunity to provide amplifying remarks to the study and outline all of the improvements in current x-ray technology. Additionally, you will find the link to the ADA’s press release at the beginning of this blog.
1. Patients contacted for this study were asked to remember the number of X-rays that they have had over their lifetime. This method is known to result in what is commonly called “recall bias” which commonly leads to over reporting. In previous studies in which this method was used, dental records were crosschecked against the patient’s memory. This study did not crosscheck records.
2. The average age of the study patient was 57.5 years. This means that most of these patients were exposed during the 1950’s and into the 1960’s so exposure to ionizing radiation was at a much greater level than we use with today’s digital X-ray systems. The generally accepted estimate of patient exposure is approximately 1/4 of the exposure during the era this study looked at. A statement from one of the lead investigators (Claus) actually stated “Our study refers to exposures in the past rather than exposures that people are receiving in this day and age”
3. The following is information on the ADA guidelines to prescribing dental x-rays and the ALARA principle.
“The ADA’s long-standing position is that dentists should order dental X-rays for patients only when necessary for diagnosis and treatment with the ALARA Principle (As Low as Reasonably Achievable.
Rest assured that at HDG we use the newest digital X-ray Systems which significantly lower exposure and apply the ALARA principle.