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Dental mythbuster 3: Dental radiography and X-rays

  • Organisations we regulate

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:

and key line of enquiry (KLOE)

Radiation protection legislation and guidance

In addition to our regulations there are two sets of 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 fulfill 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)

Last updated:
23 August 2018