Thai dentists say oral X-ray is safe

A TEST by the Dental Council has shown that X-ray machines used for dental services in Thailand emit very little radiation.
PHOTO: The Nation/Asia News Network

The council staged a demonstration in front of the media in Bangkok yesterday to ease public concerns about the machines' safety.

Council president Paisan Kangwonkil said there could be some misunderstanding about the amount of radiation emitted by dental X-ray machine since they were listed under the Nuclear Energy for Peace Act, which came into effect last year.

"Before patients become worried about using these X-ray machines and receiving dental services, we decided to stage this test," he said.

Photo: The Nation/Asia News Network

According to the test, an oral X-ray |exposed a patient to 0.001 mSv radiation - the amount a person is normally exposed to naturally over a period of two-and-a-half hours.

An X-ray for dental services such as orthodontic treatments emits 0.024 mSv - which is lower than an X-ray for other parts of the body.

Dentists at the press conference also disassembled parts of a dental X-ray machine and explained them in detail to convince the public that the machines are not dangerous under the supervision of licensed dentists.

Associate Professor Soontra Panmekiate, a dentist who heads the Radiology Department in the Faculty of Dentistry at Chulalongkorn University, said dentists use X-rays to help patients.

Photo: The Nation/Asia News Network

"When they are sent to X-ray machines, we have lead aprons or collars to protect patients from radiation," he said.

Soontra said X-ray rooms were also well designed to ensure that no radiation leaks from the room.

The Dental Council opposes X-ray machines being included in the Nuclear Energy for Peace Act, which calls for harsh punishments if dental X-ray machines are used without radiation safety officers (RSO).

Photo: The Nation/Asia News Network

Earlier this month, Office of Atoms |for Peace's secretary general Dr Atchara Wongsaengchan said her agency had |tried since last October to explain the |rationale behind the decision to list |dental X-ray machines in the Act.

"Dentists won't lose anything except the fee of Bt1,000 (S$40) per X-ray machine every five years," she said, adding that dentists are not required to sit a test for RSO licences.

Atchara said it was not possible to exempt dental X-ray machines from the Act because the voltage of the devices was above the International Atomic Energy Agency's exemption level.

Photo: The Nation/Asia News Network
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