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Have Radiation Risks from Atlanta Dental Scans Been Underestimated?

Radiation diagnostic procedures have always been sparingly used among children and adolescents because of the risk of overexposure to cancer-causing radiation. However, the same kinds of precautions are not taken when children are in a dentist’s chair, getting an x-ray or a scan before a routine dental procedure. This is in spite of the fact that many dentists continue to use outdated x-ray film that expose patients to unnecessary excessive amounts of radiation. If used too frequently, these unnecessary and frequent radiation exposures could pose a serious health risk that simply is not necessary. At this point, it is axiomatic to say that frequent and/or unnecessary exposure to radiation should be avoided so as to avoid possible cancer and other health risks related to increased exposures to radiation.

That is not the only thing that should concern any Atlanta dental malpractice lawyer. According to the New York Times, more and more orthodontists and dental specialists around the country are now using a new scanning device that releases much more radiation than conventional diagnostic machines. The device is called a cone beam CT scanner, and is meant to provide 3-D images of the skull, including teeth, roots and jaw.

The technology has been heavily promoted by manufacturers, who say that it gives orthodontists and other dental specialist the chance to identify specific and precise problems, and devise treatment strategies more efficiently. What they don’t mention in all their marketing jargon, is that there is little scientific research to prove that these machines are safe. There have been few tests that have been conducted on the scanners to determine their efficiency that have not been sponsored or promoted by the manufactures of the scanners.

The influence of the scanner manufactures pervades the industry, from conferences to industry publications. Last month, the Journal of the American Dental Association allowed a leading manufacturer of cone beam CT scanners to underwrite a special issue devoted entirely to this new technology. Needless to say, the edition was full of praise for the new technology and how it could benefit patients.

What’s worse, the scanners are becoming used more and more often for even routine procedures when there’s no need for their use. That means more young children exposed to possibly excessive and dangerous radiation. It is certainly true that the use of Cone Beam CT Scans are becoming the “standard of care” for many important procedures such as the placement of dental implants, root canals, sinus lifts, dental nerve repair and many others.

Robert J. Fleming has been handling wrongful death cases, dental malpractice, bus accidents, car accident cases and premises injury cases for individuals and families who have been harmed, injured or died as a result of the carelessness or negligence of another for more than 20 years. He practices in and around the Atlanta, Georgia area including handling lawsuits in Fulton, DeKalb, Clayton, Gwinnett, Cobb and other counties and nearby cities including Alpharetta, Austell, Avondale Estates, Chamblee, College Park, Conyers, Duluth, Decatur, Doraville, Hapeville, Johns Creek, Jonesboro, Lawrenceville, Norcross, Peachtree City, Riverdale, Roswell, Sandy Springs, Stone Mountain, and Smyrna. If you have been seriously injured in a car accident and would like discuss your case, contact Robert J. Fleming directly on (404) 525-5150 or contact us online.