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Safe Use of Cone Beam Computed Tomography

In the August 2012 issue of the Journal of the American Dental As­sociation, the ADA’s Council on Sci­entific Affairs presents an ADA re-port with recommendations for the safe use of cone beam computed tomography (CBCT) in the dental practice. This imaging method provides 3-dimensional detail of oral and maxillofacial structures which can help clinicians provide im­proved treatment and lead to better patient outcomes. The published recommendations provide essential principles for consideration in the selection of CBCT imaging for individual patient care. Importantly, clinicians should perform radiographic imaging, including CBCT, only after professional justification that the potential clinical benefits will outweigh the risks associated with exposure to ionizing radiation. How­ever, CBCT may supplement or re­place conventional dental x-rays when the conventional images will not adequately capture the needed information. The statement emphasizes the application of professional judgment in clinical decision-making that is informed by the latest scientific evidence and professional guidance. A guiding principle for use of all x-rays, including CBCT, is to keep radiation exposure as low as reasonably achievable (ALARA). The new statement incorporates the ALARA principle while also recognizing the need to expand predoctoral and continuing dental education on CBCT use and image in­terpretation. Actions recommended to help achieve this principle in­clude: consulting with a medical physicist or other qualified expert to perform equipment evaluations at installation; confirming compliance with local, state, and federal requirements at least annually; and establishing a facility quality control program. CBCT technologies offer an ad­vanced point-of-care imaging mo­dality that has developed into an important adjunct to conventional radiography. The ADA encourages patients to talk with their dentists about the use of CBCT imaging and all aspects of their dental care.
(Source: ADA news release, July 30, 2012)

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