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The continued expansion of dental radiology in Britain up to the end of 1981 is demonstrated, with a rate of increase much in excess of that seen for general medical radiography. Of the total of 7.8 x 106 dental X-ray examinations undertaken in 1981 approximately 6.7 x 10-6 were intra-oral, 1.5 x 105 were extra-oral and 9.1 x 105 were pantomographic. Weighted dose equivalents for typical examinations in each of these categories were calculated using specific weighting factors for the important 'remainder' organs. Values of 20 μSv, 30 μSv and 80 μSv were obtained for intra-oral, extra-oral and pantomographic techniques, respectively, corresponding to risks of fatal malignancy of 0.33, 0.5 and 1.3 per million. The estimated collective weighted dose equivalent of 212 man Sv to the population of Britain from the current level of dental radiology is is predicted to result in no more than about three extra cases of fatal cancer when the age- and sex-related opportunity for manifestation of radiation-induced cancers is taken into account.

Original publication




Journal article


British Journal of Radiology

Publication Date





511 - 516