Understanding and communicating radiation dose and risk from cone beam computed tomography in dentistry

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With the increased use of 3-dimensional dental imaging and cone beam computed tomography in dentistry, dental practitioners should understand and effectively communicate the associated radiation doses and risks to patients. This article will explain dose and risk of cone beam computed tomography technology, drawing on 3 decades of experience in communicating human health risk to the public from radiation exposure in the environment. This report provides examples of dose and risk metrics and comparisons to help providers understand the risk to their patients and to effectively communicate that risk. In the clinical setting, providers can use the guidelines outlined in this report for responsible delivery of dose using cone beam computed tomography. In addition, the metrics and comparisons provided here can be shared with patients to aid in communicating pertinent information about dose and risk.

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