Dental mythbuster 3: Dental radiography and X-rays

Page last updated: 14 November 2023
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In dentistry, X-rays are used to identify problems such as infections, decay and bone loss.

They are an invaluable tool in helping practitioners to see areas of the mouth and/or conditions that might not be easily visible through routine examination alone. X-rays can also help to identify any problems that may present in the future.

We will consider X-ray use when we review if the practice is safe. This relates to:

Radiation protection legislation and guidance

In addition to our regulations, there is dedicated legislation and professional guidelines governing the use of dental X-ray equipment.

Practices should consider

  • How do you put arrangements for radiation protection into practice?
  • Have you consulted a radiation protection adviser (RPA) and medical physics expert (MPE)? The same person may fulfil both roles.
  • Have you registered with HSE? Where is your certificate?
  • Have you documented the arrangements for radiation protection, for example, in a radiation file or folder?
  • Do you quality assure / performance test the radiography equipment?
  • Is the X-ray equipment maintained or serviced by an appropriate person? This could be the organisation which installed the equipment
  • Does an appropriately trained staff member do a walk about visual inspection of X-ray sets to identify any safety faults?
  • Which staff are involved in taking X-rays and are they trained?
  • Have staff been trained according to current professional guidelines?

MHRA alert:

Medical Device Alert: Non CE-marked portable dental X-ray units (MDA/2012/046)