"Because children and adolescents are particularly vulnerable to radiation, doctors three years ago mounted a national campaign to protect them by reducing diagnostic radiation to only those levels seen as absolutely necessary.
It is a message that has resonated in many clinics and hospitals. Yet there is one busy place where it has not: the dental office.
Not only do most dentists continue to use outmoded X-ray film requiring higher amounts of radiation, but orthodontists and other specialists are embracing a new scanning device that emits significantly more radiation than conventional methods, an examination by The New York Times has found.
Designed for dental offices, the device, called a cone-beam CT scanner, provides brilliant 3-D images of teeth, roots, jaw and even skull. This technology, its promoters say, is a safe way for orthodontists and oral surgeons to work with more precision and to identify problems that otherwise might go unnoticed."