Concern among patients, often prompted by medical practitioners,
regarding the harmful effects of radiation caused by dental x-ray
procedures, has caused several patients of the dental school of the
University of Pretoria to refuse dental radiographic procedures.
Buch and Fensham in a previous article demonstrated that
radiation doses to the eyes and thyroid resulting from a single
pantomogram constituted less than 10 % of that which would be
imparted by a transatlantic flight in terms of added natural background
The authors in this study investigated doses to the same organs
resulting from a full-mouth periapical series first using films and
then digital imaging. Doses to the uterus resulting from these
same examinations as well as from a pantomogram were also
determined both with and without the use of a lead apron.
Doses to the eye from a full-mouth examination using film
compared favourably with those for a panoramic examination,
but were much reduced when digital imaging techniques were
Doses to the uterus were small (equivalent to half a day of
background radiation) for both a full-mouth examination using
digital imaging, as well as for a pantomogram. However, from the
results it would appear that there is little difference in the dose
of scatter radiation to the uterus from a full-mouth examination
whether or not a lead apron is used.
The use of a lead apron for a pantomogram significantly
reduces the dose to the uterus.