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Aust Orthod J. 2003 Nov;19(2):67-75.

Comparison of radiation levels from computed tomography and conventional dental radiographs.

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  • 1Discipline of Orthodontics, The University of Sydney, Surry Hills, NSW, Australia.



With the increasing use of computed tomography (CT) in oral diagnosis and treatment planning, concern has been expressed about the high levels of radiation used, and the associated risks.


The purpose of this study was to compare the radiation doses of facial CT scans with the radiation doses taking a lateral cephalometric radiograph, a panoramic radiograph (OPG), an occlusal film, and an intra-oral periapical radiograph.


An Alderson-Rando anthropomorphic phantom head was used for the analysis. Thirty-six lithium fluoride thermoluminescent dosimeters were placed in the phantom head in locations representing radiosensitive sites. Standard facial CT scans and conventional radiographs (lateral cephalometric, OPG, maxillary occlusal, intra-oral periapical) were then taken of the phantom head.


The following radiation doses were measured: maxillo-mandibular CT scan, 2.1 mSv; maxillary CT scan, 1.40 mSv; mandibular CT scan, 1.32 mSv; lateral cephalometric radiograph, 0.005 mSv; OPG, 0.010 mSv; maxillary occlusal, 0.007 mSv; intra-oral periapical radiograph, 0.005 mSv.


CT scans produce significantly more ionising radiation than conventional radiographs. This factor should be taken into account when considering a CT scan as an alternative to a survey with conventional radiographs. While CT scans offer many advantages over conventional radiography the high radiation dose to patients, and the cost of this procedure should be considered.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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