Planmeca USA seeks ways to reduce dental radiation exposure

May 2, 2012
Planmeca USA imaging company offers tips for patients and enhanced technology for dentists to reduce the risk of radiation exposure in the dental office.

As the dental industry converges in Anaheim, Calif., this week for the California Dental Association meeting, many dentists will be seeking ways to reduce their patient’s exposure to radiation from dental X-rays.

A controversial study published in the April issue of the American Cancer Association Journal Cancer found an association between frequent dental X-rays and an increased risk for cancer. The study builds on a nonscientific, and equally controversial article in the New York Times in 2010 that implicated 3-D cone beam imaging technology with cancer as well.

Taken together, the studies have forced many dentists to answer anew, questions about dental X-rays they thought had been put to rest.

Some dental imaging companies, such as Planmeca USA, Inc., Roselle, Ill., have many safeguards engineered in all of their imaging units to reduce the risk of cancer associated with radiation.

According to Planmeca USA dental consultant Eugene Antenucci, DDS, Huntington, N.Y., these studies provide an opportunity for dentists to turn a negative situation into a positive one that can reassure patients and build a more trusting relationship with them.

Antenucci and Planmeca USA encourage dental patients or parents of young patients to ask their dental care providers the following questions about dental X-rays:

  • Why do I need to have this test which involves ionizing radiation?
  • What are the potential benefits?
  • Are there alternatives?
  • What is the dose in relation to background radiation (something understandable)?
  • What are my risks if I don't have this test?
  • Would you personally have this X-ray taken now? How often would you have it taken? (as the doctor)
  • What type of technology are you using to take my X-rays?

Antenucci encouraged dentists to look for 3-D imaging units with built-in safety measures that focus on using the least amount of radiation to achieve the best results possible. This commitment to “As Low As Reasonably Achievable” or the ALARA radiation principle, keeps both dentist and patient’s safety a priority.

Antenucci encourages his colleagues to look for units that have X-ray aperture controls that constrict the beam of radiation to target and radiate only the site of interest. Finally, higher end, sophisticated units employ robotic arms that allow for precise imaging anywhere in the maxillofacial/cranial region and wide volume controls that allow dentists to image only the area of concern.

“This means there is no need to take an image of the entire head if only a single tooth site needs to be visualized,” Antenucci said.

Representatives from Planmeca will be at the CDA meeting in Booth No. 352.

About Planmeca USA
Planmeca USA is the North American Subsidiary of Planmeca OY, Helsinki, Finland. Planmeca OY is one of the largest privately held companies in the dental equipment industry. Headquartered in Helsinki, Finland, Planmeca designs, manufactures, and markets high-tech dental equipment suitable for private clinics and teaching environments. Planmeca’s product lines include dental care units, Triangle Dental Cabinets, dental X-rays, digital imaging, and software applications. The company has been a leader in digital imaging and advanced, computer integrated dental care concepts for more than 38 years. Planmeca’s strong commitment to R&D and innovative solutions is evidenced by creating complete dental solutions with integrated high tech devices and software options. Planmeca products are designed and manufactured in Helsinki, Finland, and distributed worldwide via a comprehensive network of dealers operating around the world. More than 98% of Planmeca production is exported to over 100 countries. The company is well established in high-tech dental markets worldwide. Planmeca has considerable market shares e.g. in the U.S., Japan, and several European countries. Planmeca, established in 1971, is the parent company of Planmeca Group, a group of companies in the field of health care, with approximately 2,300 employees.