Updated ADA Recommendations on Dental X-rays


Updated guidelines on the use of dental x-rays have been released by the American Dental Association (ADA), in collaboration with the US Food and Drug Administration.

Dental Radiographic Examinations: Recommendations for Patient Selection and Limiting Radiation Exposure,” provides dentists with guidance on the best use of dental x-rays for their patients. The guidelines, which were last updated in 2004, include recommendations for limiting exposure to radiation, which can have a cumulative effect from multiple sources over time. The rationale behind each recommendation is also provided by patient age and dental developmental stage.

Some of the update highlights include:

  • Extension of a recommendation for thyroid collar use with children, women of childbearing age and pregnant women to include all patients.
  • Coverage of new topics, including receptor selection, handheld x-ray units, technique charts and radiation risk communication.
  • Revisions to the recommendation on patient shielding, to be consistent with the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements.

The ADA emphasizes that the guidelines are not intended to serve as standards of care, requirements or regulations, but were developed “to serve as an adjunct to the dentist’s professional judgment of how to best use diagnostic imaging for each patient.”