ADA, ADHA joins in Image Gently campaign for pediatric X-rays

The American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA) announced its support and involvement as a member of the Alliance for Radiation Safety in Pediatric Imaging and the Image Gently Alliance campaign.

Imagegently

Imagegently

The home page for ImageGently.org.

The American Dental Association (ADA) and the American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA) announced its support and involvement as a member of the Alliance for Radiation Safety in Pediatric Imaging and the Image Gently Alliance campaign.

The dental associations said it would help promote the importance of proper radiation dosage to children to U.S. dental professionals.

Dr. Charles H. Norman III, president of the American Dental Association, said, “Dentists use X-rays to diagnose disease or damage that isn’t visible during an exam. Children may require X-rays as an adjunct aid to diagnose dental decay or to assess growth and development for orthodontic treatment. It’s important for dentists and parents to have meaningful conversations about children’s X-rays. I’m pleased that the ADA is part of the Image Gently Alliance, whose goals align with the ALARA or ‘as low as reasonably achievable’ principle, which the ADA has long advocated.”

“Dental hygienists are an integral part of the dental team, examining children, developing plans of care, consulting with parents or caregivers, and working with other oral health professionals to ensure that proper diagnosis and treatment is provided to children,” said Kelli Swanson Jaecks, MA, RDH, president of the ADHA. “It’s critical for both dental hygienists — the oral health professionals responsible for creating and executing plans of prevention and care — and dental practitioners to discuss with parents the importance of X-rays and proper dosing of radiation at the lowest possible level.”

The Alliance for Radiation Safety in Pediatric Imaging provides online educational and scientific materials as part of the Image Gently campaign. The campaign encourages dental professionals to optimize radiation dose used in imaging exams performed on children.

The Image Gently campaign also offers downloadable materials to help parents ask more informed questions of their dental providers whenever scans are recommended for their children. All of the materials, newsletters and other information can be found at www.imagegently.org.

“We are incredibly pleased that the major dental societies have opted to take part in Image Gently and take steps to ensure that the care they provide is as safe as possible,” said Marilyn Goske, MD, co-chair of the Alliance for Radiation Safety in Pediatric Imaging. “We encourage all dental professionals to take advantage of the materials on the Image Gently website and factor them into their clinical decision making.”

When dental imaging procedures are considered, dental providers are urged to:

  • Select X-rays for individual needs, not as a routine. Use X-rays only when essential for diagnosis and treatment — based on a review of the patient and their dental history.
  • Use the fastest image receptor available. When film X-ray is used, select “E”- or “F”-speed. Set exposure parameters as low as possible for diagnostic digital imaging.
  • Use cone-beam CT (CBCT) only when necessary. CBCT should be restricted in children to cases in which it is essential for diagnosis and treatment planning.
  • Collimate beam to area of interest. For intraoral X-rays, collimation should be rectangular to match recording area of detector. For extraoral X-rays, including cone-beam CT, restrict beam to the area needed for diagnosis.
  • Always use a thyroid shield. The thyroid gland in children is particularly sensitive to radiation. Use of a properly positioned shield significantly reduces the dose to the thyroid.
  • Child-size the exposure time. Less exposure time is needed for children, as their oral structures are smaller than those in adults.

Other Image Gently supporters in dentistry include the American Dental Association; American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology; American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons; American Association of Endodontists; American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology; American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry; American Academy of Periodontology; American Dental Education Association; American Dental Hygienists’ Association; Canadian Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology; and the European Academy of DentoMaxilloFacial Radiology.

Dr. Alan G. Lurie, immediate past president of the American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology said, “The materials made available through the Image Gently campaign will help general and specialty dentists ‘child size’ their imaging techniques and provide even better and safer treatment to all patients, especially children. To have North American and European dental societies involved in Image Gently sends a clear, strong message about the importance of this effort.”

The Image Gently campaign is conducted by the Alliance for Radiation Safety in Pediatric Imaging, founded by the Society for Pediatric Radiology, the American College of Radiology, the American Society of Radiologic Technologists, and the American Association of Physicists in Medicine. The campaign now encompasses more than 80 medical, surgical, dental, and other professional health care organizations. For more information about the campaign, visit www.imagegently.org.

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