In this era of the digital revolution, where the world is shifting from analog to digital electronics, digital radiography has also become an essential part of a dental examination. Since there is a higher risk in using ionizing radiation for Dental diagnostic purposes in day-to-day practice, the diagnostic protocols have outweighed the risks associated with it.
The digital revolution has led to many inventions in devices, one such device is a Portable X-Ray Device or hand-held X-ray Device. Portable X-ray units are becoming trendier in dental offices around the globe as a more cost-effective and space-saving alternative to fixed, Wall-Mounted X-Ray Units.
Throughout the day, dental professionals take many Dental X-Ray images due to which they are exposed to radiation. So, questions may arise about the safety of the portable x-ray unit to be used in a dental clinic.
Is X-Ray Unit Really Safe?
Dental diagnostic X-Rays are undoubtedly exposed to the patient as well as the dentist. Even if the radiation dose is lower in the case of a Dental X-ray, still there is an inherent risk associated with the radiation exposure which cannot be overlooked. Low-dose radiation can also cause many health effects to dentists. A few studies have shown that long-term exposure of low dose radiation can cause the below health issues:
- Affects Brain & Neck Areas
- Vital Organs in the Body
- Affects Thyroid, most commonly in female dentists
- Ionizing Radiation of X-Ray also possesses carcinogenic effects.
- Fetal health issues in case of Pregnant women
Hence, dentists should be conscious of the potential of accrual exposure to low-dose radiation from dental diagnostic X-Ray and accordingly follow the safety recommendations & the permissible doses.
Safety Standards to Reduce Radiation Exposure in Portable X-Ray Unit:
The exposure of radiation to the dentist is the measure of the radiation that leaks from the X-Ray tube (radiation leakage) or radiation scattering from the patient or through any other instruments (Backscattered radiation).
The following safety measures can be used for the prevention of radiation exposure from the dental X-Ray Unit:
- Internal Shielding of Unit Housing:
As the dentist holds the X-Ray unit while taking an X-ray and unfortunately distance cannot be maintained in this case, the leakage radiation is of serious significance. Hence, as per the Federal standard incorporating sufficient physical barrier inside the unit housing can work as a shield and prevent the leakage radiation exposure to the dentist.
- External Shielding of X-ray Unit:
For prevention of the backscattered radiation, the external housing of the unit should be equipped with a physical barrier between the patient and the dentist. The backscattered shield should be closer to the patient. The operator should stand behind the shield for safety.
- Beam Limitation:
The portable dental X-ray should be equipped with a beam limitation for focusing on the area of interest while taking radiograph to avoid unnecessary scattered radiation. The smaller radiation area reduces the patient dose by 25% without any compromise with the beam aiming capability.
- Duty Cycle
The Dental Portable X-ray Unit is also designed to avoid damage from overheating. The minimum cycle rating for maximum exposure which is the relationship between duration and frequency of exposure during a 60 second period is 1:60. So it is very much required that a portable X-ray machine should have less exposure time as possible for less radiation exposure and required work done.
To avoid unwanted exposure, the exposure must be terminated at a specified time interval. Also, when it is set to TIMER OFF, the possibility to make an exposure becomes zero.
- Storage & Security of Dental Portable X-Ray Device:
When a portable x-ray unit is not under the control and continual monitoring of the registrant, storage and security procedures must be designed and executed to ensure that it is protected against illegal use or removal of the housing.
Criteria of A Safe Portable X-Ray Unit:
A high-voltage power supply in a high-frequency DC X-Ray Unit should be used in portable x-ray equipment to limit the radiation to the patient. Also, the X-ray tube should be surrounded by compounds of heavy metals to reduce any leakage of radiation from the tube.
The most widely recognized and FDA-approved portable X-Ray device is one with a cordless operation, a rechargeable battery, and inbuilt LEAD shielding that gives more than 100 – 700 exposures on a single charge. To reduce the possibility of inadvertent exposure, there must be an automatic “Shut Off” and “Enable” functionality. The beam should be limited to 6cm only. All these criteria are fulfilled with our Genoray Port X II Portable X-Ray imported from South Korea.
Port X II portable X-ray unit is one of the highest-selling X-ray units in India due to its image quality with minimum radiation exposure. It’s excellent internal shielding with LEAD, makes it a safe device by preventing dispersion radiation.
Though the portable X-Ray units are the most widely used, technologically advanced dental equipment in a dental clinic, still it is imperative to maintain safety from radiation exposure by following all the guidelines of radiation protection. Following appropriate radiation safety standards, such as training and safe operating procedures, help to reduce exposure to radiation while also reduces the radiation hazards for a dental professional.