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There has been a lot of talk recently about the radiation risk that may or may not exist from the new airport body scanners. However, according to The New York Times, a radiation risk exists at another place where it has not been receiving a lot of attention: the dentist's office.
According to The Times, unregulated, high doses of radiation are being delivered to patients at the dentist's office, with no upside and lots of risk. In particular, children are placed at a special risk. The problem has to do with the machines they choose to use: old x-ray machines with “D-speed film” and newer, advanced 3D machines that use even more radiation.
The new machine is called a cone-beam CT scanner. It's popular because it’s fast and gives a very impressive, colorful 3D picture of the mouth. They are also highly profitable for the dentists and their manufactures, such as Imaging Sciences International.
The problem is that according to the FDA, the machines are apparently being aggressively promoted by their manufacturer, despite the fact that they do not produce results that are superior to their alternatives. This despite the fact that alternative machines deliver 4 to 67 times less radiation. The FDA has grown increasingly concerned with unregulated radiation levels.
This is certainly something worth keeping an eye on during your next trip to the dentist, especially if you take young children. You might want to check with your dentist and see what kind of equipment he is using. We are all exposed to small amounts of radiation on a regular basis, but that doesn't mean that it makes sense to take unnecessary risks. According to those who have looked at the current practices at the dentist, many consumers may be currently facing an unnecessary and unacceptable risk.
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