You have probably heard about the controversy stirring around the study published by the American Cancer Society on April 10th that claims to have made a connection between dental x-rays and brain tumors. It is being covered by all of the news stations, from CBS News to the Huffington Post. Those kinds of claims not only make headlines but caught the attention of our team here at Boger Dental and our professional peers, as well. So, after careful review, we offer our patients this insight to help find perspective about the study's findings and implications.
The study, titled “Dental X-Rays and Risk of Meningioma,” was led by researcher and neurosurgeon Elizabeth B. Claus, M.D., of Yale University School of Medicine and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. It concludes that “exposure to some dental X-rays performed in the past, when radiation exposure was greater than in the current era, appears to be associated with an increased risk of intracranial meningioma.”
Dental researchers, such as Dr. Alan G. Lurie, a radiation biologist and head of radiology at the University of Connecticut School of Dental Medicine, are questioning the findings because the study is basing its scientific results on the subjective ability of the study participants to be able to accurately remember how many and what kind of dental x-rays they had as long as 40 years prior. Dr. Lurie has many concerns about the study’s design and outcomes. “I think it’s a very flawed study,” he said. The American Dental Association continues to stand by its recommendation of dental x-rays for accurate diagnosis and treatment. The ADA released a statement in response to the study saying, “The ADA has reviewed the study and notes that the results rely on the individuals’ memories of having dental X-rays taken years earlier.”
So, Are Dental X-Rays Really Safe?
There's no question that dental x-rays are invaluable tools for evaluating your oral health by allowing us to look at what is happening beneath the surface of your teeth and gums. Plain and simple, in many cases without dental-x-rays we cannot provide you with the diagnosis accuracy or high level of individualized dental care that you deserve. Dental x-rays reveal important information including:
- the start of decay between teeth or below existing fillings
- infections in the bone
- periodontal (gum) disease
- abscesses or cysts
- developmental abnormalities
- and certain types of tumors
With your safety in mind, Boger Dental began using digital x-ray technology many years ago. The level of radiation you receive from a digital x-ray is minimal and we only take them when it is deemed medically necessary for diagnosis and to keep your dental records up to date.
To give you some perspective for how the radiation you receive from digital dental x-rays compares with other sources you may experience during your day, please refer to the chart we have included. [chart coming soon]
Boger Dental Has Your Safety As Top Priority
Particularly when it comes to cancer and other life-threatening conditions, our patients' safety is our top concern. You can trust that the dentists and team at Boger Dental are on top of the latest dental news and technology and take new findings, such as in this study, to heart and will give you candid information so that you can make the best choices for your dental treatment. In response to this study, Boger Dental believes that digital dental x-rays are a necessary component of providing you with efficient and effective dental care and that our recommended regimen of when to take x-rays for diagnosis purposes does not put our patients at risk.
Enabling our patients to make make educated and informed decisions when it comes to their dental care has always been a core value at Boger Dental. If you have any further questions or concerns, please feel free to ask a member of our team by email at [email protected], by calling Boger Dental at (763) 546-7707, or at your next dental visit. We will be happy to help!