Joy C. Arend, DMD

Recent Study Incorrectly Links Dental X-rays to Cancer

At East Portland Dentistry, we place our patient’s health and safety as our number one priority. That’s why Portland Oregon dentists Drs. Arend will always happily address patient concerns prior to beginning any procedure or exam, so you can feel comfortable and relaxed when in our office.

Recently, a lot of national attention has been directed towards a study published in the American Cancer Society journal Cancer, which claimed to have found a link between dental x-rays and brain cancer. Because of the very serious nature of this claim, we thought it important to reach out to our patients to discuss the safety of dental x-rays.

Unfortunately, the study published in Cancer had several notable faults that left the conclusions drawn by researchers as suspect, and led many dental patients to wonder if their health was in jeopardy.  According to officials with the Academy of General Dentistry, an organization dedicated to promoting oral health information to the public, who examined the data used to draw the study’s conclusions, the Cancer study contained two seriously fatal flaws.

First, researchers based their model of radiation exposure on outdated radiographic techniques no longer used in the dental profession. This caused the models used in the study to show a considerably higher amount of radiation exposure to patients than what they would be exposed to in today’s modern dentist office.

“Modern radiographic techniques and equipment provide the narrowest beam and shortest exposure, thereby limiting the area and time of exposure and reducing any possible risks while providing the highest level of diagnostic benefits,” said AGD President, Dr. Howard Gamble, on the organization’s website.

Dr. Gambled continued by saying, “It is regrettable to think that an article based on outdated technology could scare the public and cause them to avoid needed treatment. With the radiography techniques in use today, the amount of radiation exposure is reduced and more controlled than it was in years past.”

The second questionable aspect of this study was its reliance on using data collected from population-based case-control studies. These types of reports are based solely on patient recollection, and many of the cases used in this particular study were based on events that occurred decades prior.

While the ADA fully supports scientific research that examines potential links between dental x-rays and incidents of disease, it cannot endorse a study as inaccurate and flawed as what was regrettably published in Cancer.

Drs. Arend once again would like to stress to patients that we take the minimum dental x-rays necessary, and that the exposure is comparable to the radiation of being outside on a sunny day. If you have any questions about the safety of dental x-rays, feel free to address your concerns during your next appointment, and we will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

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