No doubt you listened to the radio or television news today with a double take whut-What? There’s a Yale study that just came out which links the incidence of meningiomas to the frequency of dental radiographs taken during childhood? Your gentle ionizing beam of extrasensory perception is….BEING CRITICIZED?
Yes, yes it is. But have no fear, because the research, my friend, is also having its validity questioned. Supposedly there’s a significant likelihood of being diagnosed with a benign brain tumor if you grew up going to the dentist regularly and having periodic x-rays. This tumor, called a meningioma, is usually asymptomatic, and the vast majority of the time is discovered only when a person has a routine CT scan.
Okay, so is it just me who sees this flaw in the study? People who have CT scans just for “fun” are most likely to go to the dentist for “fun.” Only you should substitute the word “prevention” for “fun.” There were other people in the study who weren’t diagnosed with meningiomas. Was this because they didn’t have CT scans voluntarily (and their parents didn’t take them to the dentist very often, possibly)? And what is the criteria for needing a scan, since we’re criticizing the “need” for dental x-rays? I mean, CT zapping is not exactly radiation-free.
Go read these articles for yourself so that you’ll have well-formed opinions when patients ask about what they’ve heard in the media to help you turn around any radiation defiance that you may come up against in the next few weeks:
Dental X-Rays Linked to Common Brain Tumor, Study Finds – Huffington Post
Dental x-rays can double brain tumor risk – MSNBC.com
All about Meningiomas from Wikipedia
From ABC News: Early Dental X-Rays Linked to Brain Tumors
Now ask yourself who is healthier: the guy who never took a pill or saw a doctor his whole life, and felt great until the day he died? Or the one who did all the preventive stuff and discovered along the way that yes, he had some imperfections that needed to be treated?
See, it’s a stupid question that is irrelevant. Put it to bed, put this story to bed, go scare the masses with something fun. And yummy. And dangerous.
For other reading, here’s a PDF of the ADA’s radiography recommendations, along with a previous DentalBuzz parody about radiation safety, and a comparison of dental radiation doses to other medical radiation doses.