Changes in the Use of Lead Aprons

Changes in the Use of Lead Aprons

At Sunnyside Dentistry, our staff remains committed to keeping patient safety as our number one priority. Whenever you schedule a dental treatment or procedure with our team, you can feel assured that you’ll receive the best, most advanced care possible in a safe and protected environment.

Traditionally, when patients underwent dental x-rays, a lead apron was used to shield the patient from any exposure to excess radiation. However, based on a new policy change issued by Oregon’s Center for Health Protection, Radiation Protection Services (RPS) the use of lead aprons for adult patients will no longer be mandatory.

While this may seem surprising considering how radiation exposure is commonly viewed, the decision made by the RPS comes after careful study and deliberation. In review of this subject, the state of Oregon released the following statement:

“Oregon regulations have been repealed relating to the requirement of providing shielding to the adult patient during dental x-ray procedures. Over the last 50 years, X-ray equipment and procedures have been optimized with improved technology thereby significantly reducing radiation exposure to the patient.”

This announcement helps to validate decades worth of technological advances in dentistry designed to improve patient safety. With dental technology having advanced to the point where patients no longer need to worry about radiation exposure during X-ray procedures, you can feel safe knowing your health is protected at all times while at the dentist’s office.

Based on the change to the state’s current health regulations, Sunnyside Dentistry will no longer require adult patients to wear a lead apron during X-ray procedures.

While discontinuing the use of lead aprons during X-rays will become our new standard operating procedure, we will allow the patient to have a say in this matter. If you would like to wear an apron during an X-ray, please feel free to ask our dental technician for an apron and we will happily provide you one.

Further, based on recommendations provided by the RPS, we will continue the use of lead aprons during X-rays for patients who are pregnant.

We will also continue the use of lead aprons for all pediatric dental patients during X-ray procedures. The still developing physique of younger patients means they have a higher risk of exposure to radiation in comparison to adults. This makes the use of shielding more appropriate for younger patients, especially when X-raying their head and neck region.

The RPS based their decision on the use of lead aprons from recommendations provided by both the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements and the IAEA. If you’d like further information about the RPS’s decision on the use of lead aprons, please feel free to contact the RPS at 971-673-0500 or ask any member of our staff at Sunnyside Dentistry in during your next appointment.

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