Safe use of x-ray equipment

The second edition of the Guidance Notes for Dental Practitioners on the Safe Use of X-Ray Equipment, sets standards for the safe use of x-ray equipment within dental practice in line with the Ionising Radiation Regulations 2017 (IRR17) and Ionising Radiation (Medical Exposure) Regulations 2017 (IRMER17).

The guidance covers both administrative and practical matters, taking into account developments in dental X-ray equipment, imaging technology and legislation since the first edition, which was published in 2001 by the National Radiological Protection Board (now part of PHE’s Centre for Radiation, Chemical and Environmental Hazards).

The publication includes:

  • Existing guidance on dental cone-beam CT (CBCT), hand-held dental X-ray equipment and digital imaging systems
  • Updated guidance on:
    • Radiation controlled areas
    • The training of referrers, practitioners and operators with respect to dental CBCT
    • Acceptance, commissioning and routine radiation safety tests for all dental X-ray equipment and the recommended intervals (extended to every three years for most dental CBCT equipment) between routine tests
    • A simplified system for image quality rating and analysis
    • A simplified approach to quality assurance of digital imaging systems and viewing screens
  • New guidance with respect to the requirements:
    • For dental practices to register with the HSE (or HSENI)
    • To investigate the circumstances when contingency plans are activated, and on the need to rehearse contingency plans
    • To monitor radiation levels at the boundaries of controlled areas
    • To assess doses to persons who need to enter controlled areas
    • For employers to co-operate when employees work with dental X-ray equipment on another employer’s premises, including arrangements for the formal handover of responsibility
    • Regarding what should be expected of service engineers who undertake the installation, testing and servicing of dental X-ray equipment
    • When disposing of or selling-on X-ray equipment
    • For record retention
  • Detailed practical guidance on how to achieve the optimisation of patient dose
  • Template documents, including a radiation risk assessment and the employer’s procedures relevant to dentistry

It is available to view online free of charge, however you will need to log in or register an account. College members can also download the publication (strictly for personal use), and have access to search, text-select and print functionality. Membership is available from £94 per year for dentists, and from £33 for all other dental professionals.

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Related articles

CGDent members have free access to these articles, and further papers on this topic. To search the PDJ archiveplease ensure you are logged in to this website.

  • Revised Guidance on Radiation Protection in Dentistry by PHE and FGDP(UK) by Andrew Gulson (December 2020)
  • Developing Selection Criteria for Dental Radiography by Keith Horner, Gareth Kingston (March 2013)
  • X-Ray Vision: How Audit can Help you Reveal the Quality of your Radiography by Andrew Toy, A. Eaton Kenneth (March 2013)
  • Reporting of Dental Radiographs in General Dental Practice by Andrew Shelley (March 2013)
  • Digital Radiography in the Dental Practice: An Update by Jimmy Makdissi, Dr Ravikiran Pawar (March 2013)

Non-members who wish to read one of these papers, or other Primary Dental Journal articles, have the option to join the College or subscribe to the PDJ.

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