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3-D X-rays for orthodontic diagnosis increase radiation risk

Using 3-D X-ray imaging instead of traditional 2-D imaging for simple orthodontic cases can increase the risk of radiation, according to a research study published in the journal Dentomaxillofacial Radiology.

According to the study, one image of 3-D cone beam computed tomography (CBCT) produces a radiation of 87 to 200 microsieverts or more, compared to 4 to 40 microsieverts for an entire series of 2-D X-rays required for orthodontic diagnosis.

Study author, Erika Benavides said that adding unnecessary radiation exposure to the patient may result in a higher biological risks, particularly in the more susceptible young children.

"This is why selecting the patients that would benefit the most from this additional exposure needs to be done on a case-by-case basis," Benavides said.

The study authors note that when used judiciously, CBCT is an invaluable tool with a definite place in orthodontic treatment planning.