The largest case-controlled study to date examining the correlation between dental x-rays and the risk of meningioma (the most frequently reported primary brain tumors in the United States) came out this month. The research was reported in Cancer journal by the Yale University School of Medicine.
They found that exposure to some dental x-rays performed in the past, when radiation exposure was greater than the current machines, appears to be associated with an increased risk of intracranial meningioma. As with all sources of artificial ionizing radiation, considered use of this modified risk factor may be a benefit to patients. Cancer, 2012. American Cancer Society.
They found that dental bite-wing x-rays taken on a yearly or more frequent interval and PANO dental x-rays taken at a young age or on a yearly basis or with greater frequency had an elevated risk for this type of brain cancer.
This study suggests that dental x-rays, the most common artificial source of ionizing radiation, can be easily modified to be safer for the patients.
For example, prudent precautions could be:
- Do not let dentists take old style x-rays of your teeth
- All dentist should be using digital x-rays
- Dentists should be using the minimum x-rays to meet the needs of the patient
Digital dental x-rays can cut your exposure to ionizing radiation by up to 90%. Your dentist should be customizing your dental x-ray recall to the minimum amount to properly care for you. Do not let set insurance policies or rigid x-ray requirements by individuals or companies, outside your dentist’s control, dictate your need for more ionizing radiation than is necessary.
Talk with your dentist about your concerns and go to a dentist that customizes your dental x-rays to the minimum for your needs, like our practice does.