New research has shown that childhood exposure to CT scans is linked to an increased cancer risk. And a study published last year linked brain tumours to frequent dental X-Rays. Still, the Canadian Dental Association maintains that X-Rays are an integral component of best dental practices, provided they are used sparingly and only in appropriate diagnostic circumstances.
But there is a better way.
A new study published in the Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery has found that MRI, in addition to its inherent lack of radiation, is actually a more effective imaging tool than X-Ray or CT due to its ability to produce clear, three dimensional images.
“Radiographs are routinely used for the diagnosis of dental abnormalities and for orthodontic treatment and surgical planning,” wrote the authors of the study. “However, radiographic images provide only limited information, especially for overlapping dental structures. This limitation is especially important because most patients with dental abnormalities are children, and repetitive examinations are often required.”
16 dental patients with a mean age of 10.8 years participated in the study which used a 1.5T imaging system. The average time from start to finish for each procedure was 15 minutes, most of it spent in instruction and preparation; each participant spent roughly 4-5 on the table being imaged. According to the study’s authors, not only the teeth but “…the dental pulp, bone marrow, gingival, saliva, facial soft tissues, tongue, and palate provided a signal on clinical MRI.”
For further reading on this study, click here.