California Says Protective Lead Aprons Remain a Requirement Regardless of New Guidelines
Advancements in dental radiographic equipment and imaging techniques have significantly reduced patients’ radiation exposure over the past 30 years. Recent reviews by radiation protection organizations suggest that radiation doses from dentomaxillofacial imaging now pose a negligible risk. In response, the American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology recommends discontinuing the routine use of thyroid and gonadal shielding during diagnostic intraoral, panoramic, cephalometric, and cone-beam computed tomography imaging, asserting that lead aprons provide no protection from internal scattered radiation. The academy emphasizes that scientific evidence indicates aprons and thyroid collars offer no additional benefit. Despite these recommendations, California’s Code of Regulations mandates the use of protective aprons during dental radiography, specifying a lead-equivalent of 0.25 millimeters to cover the gonadal area. The California Dental Association anticipates discussions with the California Department of Public Health to potentially revise state regulations. Dentists, if the requirement changes, would need new safety training for the dental team and effective patient communication, particularly addressing concerns related to pediatric patients and apprehensive individuals. Click here to read more.