Radiology is a key component of your dental practice. One of the most important aspects of taking x-rays is to ensure is that it’s done safely, both for the patient and for you and your staff. It’s also vital to make sure that proper procedures and practices are followed.
As part of our quality assessment reviews, we evaluate radiology practices and equipment. These on-site reviews are part of Delta Dental’s quality assessment program for contracted dentists in California, mandated by the California Department of Managed Health Care, and may also be done in other states as needed.
To make sure you pass with flying colors, here are some guidelines.
Whether you take x-rays with conventional x-ray film or use digital radiography, label all x-rays with this basic information:
Remember, x-rays must be labeled to be useful. Keep them accessible for several years to make it easier to review past and present oral conditions.
If you take digital x-rays, printed hard copy versions may not contain the necessary basic information. Check your software and be sure to add the information yourself if necessary.
Remember: If you use conventional x-rays (as opposed to digital images), always keep the originals. Send only duplicate films or x-ray copies of diagnostic quality to insurance carriers, specialists and patients.
Further labeling is needed when x-rays are taken for these reasons:
Radiation hygiene affects the health and safety of the patient and staff. Professionally acceptable standards include the following:
Anyone who is in the x-ray room at the time of exposure (and is not behind a protective barrier) must wear a protective apron of not less than 0.25-millimeter lead or its equivalent. (An apron of 0.5-millimeter lead is preferable.)
Although there’s been recent conversation about whether the use of lead aprons during x-rays is necessary, their use is still required by most states.
Today, there are multiple options available for protective aprons and thyroid collars.
Both lead and lead-free aprons require proper storage to prolong their life and effectiveness.
Professionally acceptable standards for x-rays include the following:
Acceptable outcomes are evaluated by reviewing your patient records for successful completion and effectiveness. X-rays may be reviewed in the following instance:
By following these simple steps, you can help ensure that your x-rays are helpful, safe and meet state and federal standards.