CBCT Radiation Protection – Optimising Radiological Protection in Dental Cone Beam Computed Tomography

Cone Beam Computed Tomography (CBCT) has revolutionised dental imaging, providing a detailed, three-dimensional view of the dental anatomy. This blog delves into the workings of CBCT, its applications in dental practices, and essential information on CBCT radiation protection for both patients and professionals.

What is Cone Beam Computed Tomography?

CBCT is a type of medical imaging technology that uses X-rays to create 3D images of the teeth, jaw, and surrounding structures. Unlike traditional 2D X-rays, CBCT offers a comprehensive view, making it a valuable tool in dental diagnostics and treatment planning.

CBCT Radiation Protection

X-Ray Technology and Radiation Dose in Dental Radiology

CBCT uses a cone-shaped X-ray beam, rotating around the patient’s head to capture multiple images. These images are then reconstructed into a 3D model. While the radiation dose in CBCT is generally higher than traditional dental X-rays, technological advancements and proper protocols help minimise exposure.

Uses of CBCT System in Dental Practices

CBCT is invaluable in various dental procedures. It helps in implant planning, assessing bone structure, identifying root canals, and diagnosing temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders. Its precise imaging capabilities assist dentists in making informed decisions and improving patient outcomes.

Guidance on the Safe Use of Dental Cone Beam CT (Computed Tomography) Equipment

To ensure safety, dental professionals must follow strict protocols when using CBCT equipment. This includes regular maintenance and calibration, adherence to ALARA (As Low As Reasonably Achievable) principles, and shielding for both patients and staff to minimise radiation exposure.

Understanding Radiation Dose in Cone-Beam Computed Tomography

Radiation dose in CBCT varies depending on the machine settings, scanning time, and area of interest. Dental professionals should be aware of these factors, and use them effectively to balance imaging quality with minimal patient radiation exposure.

Calculating Dose and Scatter Radiation in CBCT Procedures

Scatter radiation can pose a risk during CBCT scans. To minimise this, dental practices must calculate both direct and scatter radiation doses. This includes understanding the effective patient dose absorbed and implementing shielding measures to protect both patients and staff.

Information About X-Ray Imaging for Patients

Patients should be informed about the benefits and risks associated with CBCT imaging. This includes explaining how CBCT can help diagnose dental issues and plan treatments while also emphasising the safety measures in place to reduce radiation exposure.

Radiological Protection in Dental Cone-Beam Computed Tomography (CBCT)

To enhance radiological protection, dental practices should implement proper shielding measures, adhere to guidelines set by regulatory bodies, and offer continuous education to staff on radiation safety. Raybloc offers solutions such as radiation-protective doorsets and lead-lined panels for walls and ceilings, which are essential for minimising radiation exposure in dental practices and ensuring the protection of patients and staff alike.

Complexities of Radiation Shielding in Dental Practices

Many dental practitioners are unaware of the complexities involved in radiation shielding, but don’t worry: Raybloc will work closely with an appointed Radiation Protection Advisor (RPA) to provide bespoke solutions, including a complete package warranting no radiation leakage for at least 10 years after installation. This comprehensive service ensures safety for all involved, giving confidence in the workplace environment.

Dental Cone Beam Computed Tomography

Risks of Radiation Exposure Using CBCT

CBCT, like any X-ray technology, carries radiation risks. However, following best practices, such as limiting scan time and area, using shielding, and adhering to ALARA principles, helps reduce these risks significantly.

Benefits of Using CBCT Radiation Protection

CBCT radiation protection measures ensure patient safety, reduce the risk of adverse health effects, and build trust in dental practices. Shielding, proper calibration, and education on safe imaging techniques contribute to the overall well-being of patients and staff.

Patient Radiation Safety Using CBCT Protection for Paediatric Patients

Paediatric patients require special considerations, as their developing bodies are more sensitive to radiation. Dental practices should use child-specific protocols, including adjusting machine settings, limiting scan areas, and providing additional shielding to protect young patients.

The Future with Cone-Beam CT Technology and Radiation Protection

Advancements in CBCT technology and radiation protection continue to improve. Innovations like lower radiation doses, improved imaging quality, and enhanced safety measures promise a future where CBCT offers even greater benefits while minimising risks.


Can a pregnant employee continue to work in the dental radiology department?

Yes, a pregnant employee can work in the dental radiology department, provided that radiation safety protocols are strictly followed. This includes avoiding direct exposure to X-rays and wearing appropriate shielding. Before taking risks such as these, an RPA test should have been conducted on the building in its current state to ensure it is safe.

Who may be present in the room during radiographic exposure?

Only essential personnel and the patient should be present during radiographic exposure. Protective measures, such as lead aprons or X-ray screens, should be used to shield individuals in the room.

What are the limitations of CBCT imaging?

CBCT imaging can offer comprehensive diagnostic information but is limited by its higher radiation dose compared to traditional 2D X-rays. Additionally, scatter radiation and costs associated with the equipment and its maintenance can be limiting factors.

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