Loading... Please wait...


Extraoral Dental X-ray Machine: Safety Requirements


Thanks to increased public discussion about radiation safety, patients today have greater concerns about their dentist using an extraoral dental X-ray machine than they did in the past. This is despite reassurance that a dental X-ray machine exposes them to far less radiation than other types of medical equipment such as a medical CT scan. As a dentist, it’s up to you to train your staff to reduce patient exposure to radiation and to educate patients about their actual risk.

How to Protect Patients When Taking Extraoral Dental X-rays or Cone Beam Images

Make sure you and your staff are familiar with your state’s regulations on patient protection during X-ray capture. Be sure all required radiation signs, posters, and stickers are posted and visible to patients.

Before positioning a patient in the X-ray machine, dental staff should place a leaded protective apron on the patient to ensure it covers his or her reproductive organs and thyroid glands during the scan. Most X-ray manufacturers recommend using an apron without a collar for panoramic X-rays, as the lead in the collar can interfere with most extraoral images during the scan around the patient’s head. These resultant images often have a white shark fin type shape in the center of the image, obstructing a complete view of the patient’s anterior dental anatomy.

Other ways of protecting your patients are common sense, but worth mentioning. If your panoramic or cone beam X-ray machine is installed in an area without a protective barrier, such as in a hallway, make sure that other patients or staff do not walk through this area while images are being taken. Also, be sure to ask patients if they have had recent extraoral X-rays taken at previous or referring dental providers, reducing the risk of unnecessary patient exposure. Be sure all patient monitoring devices, such as mirrors – and even baby monitors – are used to keep a watchful eye on obscured patients during image capture.

Plan Carefully to Avoid Retakes and Unnecessary Radiation Exposure

It can be frustrating for both the patient and the dental staff when it becomes necessary to take a repeat image due to a preventable mistake. To avoid having to take multiple images, ensure that you and your staff follow these steps:

  • Help the patient get into the proper position and instruct him or her to remove all jewelry, including piercings
  • Select exposure factors and other parameters appropriate for the patient and the situation
  • Use the lowest possible settings to achieve the best results, applying the ALARA (as low as reasonably achievable) principle for radiation
  • Ensure proper digital image processing and management
  • Instruct the patient to remain as still as possible while staff captures the X-ray or cone beam scan

Staff Must Also Take Measures to Protect Themselves

Most states regulate radiation protection for dental practices and their staff. Make sure that your entire staff is aware of the dangers of radiation exposure, however minimal with extraoral X-ray machines. For example, the person using the dental X-ray machine should stand behind a protective barrier when capturing images. If none is available, the staff member should stand at a distance of at least six feet. Some states require the use of door interlocks and other safety devices to help secure the radiation area. Make sure you stay on top of all regulatory changes in your area so you can make any required modifications to the X-ray environment or workflow.

To help raise awareness of X-ray machine radiation safety, consider arming your dental team with radiation dosimeter badges. These badges measure the amount of radiation to which each member of your staff is exposed and the associated risks with each level. Check with your state regulatory authority – dosimeter badges may be required in yours.

Contact Us with Questions

We intend for the above to act only as a basic overview regarding the reduction of radiation exposure. You may contact Renew Digital with additional questions or for clarification at any time.

Why Choose a Planmeca Promax 3D System


You want the best imaging equipment to aid in patient treatment planning, yet you don’t have the available funds or are not ready invest in new equipment. A refurbished Planmeca ProMax 3D system can be the ideal solution. Equipped with SCARA (Selective Compliance Assembly Robot Arm) technology, Planmeca ProMax 3D offers multiple features that enable you to capture high-quality, detailed [...]

Read More »

Why Buying Used Dental Equipment Makes Sense for the New Dental Grad


Graduating from dental school is certainly something that brings great pride. It took years of hard work, not only in dental school but in your undergraduate studies before that. Now that you’re about to strike out on your own, it’s important to consider how to manage the debt load you incurred while a student and the debt you must take [...]

Read More »

Planmeca Promax: Proper Positioning for Capturing 2D X-rays


Patient preparation is an important part of the success of capturing a 2D X-ray using a refurbished Planmeca ProMax machine from Renew Digital. You or a member of your dental staff should provide the patient with sufficient instruction and ensure that he or she understands the requests before moving forward with obtaining the image.Basic Patient Instructions When Using Planmeca ProMax EquipmentObtaining [...]

Read More »

4 Reasons to Use Panorex X-rays for Bitewings


As the most common type of dental X-ray, the bitewing provides significant information for dentists to diagnose common dental conditions and aid in customized treatment planning for each patient. Besides showing clear images of the teeth and roots, a bitewing X-ray also shows occlusal positioning. Performing bitewing X-rays typically involves taking up to four images with a digital sensor or [...]

Read More »

Digital Impression Scanning with Carestream Kodak Cone Beam Systems


Are you looking for a better solution to conventional dental impressions? Are you considering re-purposing the current area you’re using for storing the impressions into more productive space? Are you reluctant to purchase a cone beam system for fear of spending more than $100,000 for a quality device? If you answered “yes” to all of these questions, a certified [...]

Read More »

Why a General Dentist Can Benefit from a Certified Pre-Owned Planmeca CBCT


When your practice doesn’t have its own three-dimensional (3D) imaging system, you must refer patients to other providers to obtain the information you need for diagnosing and treating your patients. This means your practice loses revenue to your referral partner and your patient must go through the inconvenience of scheduling another appointment somewhere else.It’s also important to consider that the company [...]

Read More »

Why Planmeca ProMax Panoramic Systems are Different: SCARA Technology


When it comes to taking X-ray images of your dental patients, you need equipment that performs at the same level of excellence that you do. SCARA technology, which stands for Selective Compliance Articulated Robot Arm, provides you with exactly that. Planmeca, a world leader in developing and marketing premier dental imaging systems, developed SCARA for use with their Planmeca ProMax [...]

Read More »

Dental X-ray Machines and Radiation Dose: The Real Story


Although some patients may have concerns about radiation exposure during a dental appointment, the amount of radiation dentists use is so insignificant that many patients consider it an afterthought. When explaining dental X-ray machine radiation to patients, dental practitioners sometimes compare dental radiation dose to the amount of natural radiation a patient may receive from a few minutes lounging at [...]

Read More »

Why Used Dental Equipment is a Good Choice for New and Established Practices


You need state-of-the art equipment to remain competitive in today’s dental market. If investing in updated dental imaging technology isn’t currently part of your budget, using one of the three creative purchasing techniques below can help you obtain the equipment sooner than you would have otherwise.IRS Section 179 DeductionWhen you claim this deduction, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) allows you to [...]

Read More »

We power some of the most successful dental practices.

Here's what some of them have to say.

Dr. Jane Smith

Miami, FL

"Purchasing an i-CAT from Renew Digital was the best decision that I could have made for my practice."
Dr. Daniel L.W. Fishel

Red Lion, PA

"I can all but guarantee you will be satisfied with Renew Digital's service and your experience."
Dr. David Gonzales

Larkspur, CA

"Renew Digital provided me with an amazing product, installed in a timely and professional manner."

Company Info

  • Renew Digital Headquarters
  • 3250 Peachtree Corners Circle Suite D
  • Norcross, GA 30092
  • We'd love to hear from you.
  • Toll Free: 1.888.246.5611
  • Office: 404.793.0321
  • Fax: 404.996.1671

Follow us