ADA Guidelines on Radiographs

The doctors at the NJ Center for Oral Surgery recognize the concerns patient often have about exposure to radiation. This is one of the reasons they use digital radiography which significantly reduces the amount of radiation exposure by 80-90% as compared to traditional dental x-rays.

The amount of radiation exposure with a digital Panorex obtained at the NJ Center for Oral Surgery is roughly the same amount of radiation a person would be exposed during the first three hours of air travel.

According to the American Dental Association Council of Scientific Affairs JADA 2006; 137 (9): 1304-1312

“Dentists must apply clinical judgement in deciding when and what type of radiologic examination to prescribe, realizing that the same examination may not be appropriate for all patients. There is no recommended frequency for panoramic radiograph…”

“The decision to repeat a panoramic radiograph or full mouth series should be based solely on the individual patient’s need – not on the frequency allowed in the dental insurance contract.”

The clinical decision should be:

  • based on findings from the patient history and clinical examination
  • tailored to the needs of the individual patient
  • influenced by the patient’s risk of dental disease
  • supported by the dentist’s knowledge of disease progression and utility of various imaging techniques

Some factors to consider in deciding to prescribe radiographs:

  • health status of a new or established patient
  • date and availability of most recent prior radiographs
  • patient age and stage of dental development
  • risk of dental caries
  • clinical evidence of of periodontitis
  • number of teeth and desire for prosthodontic care
  • pain, swelling or other signs or symptoms of dental disease