Introduction

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With the onset of the medical use of radiation in the late nineteenth century, x-ray machines quickly became commonplace fixtures in medical facilities. The potentially harmful effects of radiation overexposure were not fully understood at the time, and as a result many physicians and patients were severely injured by repeated or prolonged exposures to x-rays.

As evidence of the harmful effects of unsafe radiation use mounted, government agencies instituted regulations to protect both the patients and operators of x-ray machines. Continued research and development in radiological applications have resulted in improved x-ray machine designs which have enabled a continued reduction of the radiation output of these machines. Today's state-of-the-art medical imaging devices, when combined with safe operating procedures, greatly reduce the exposures of staff and patients to radiation.

The regulations regarding the use of medical x-rays have also evolved since their inception. These regulations impose restrictions on the design of x-ray machines and facilities, and impose control measures to ensure that radiation is used in a safe manner. Personnel who operate medical x-ray devices should receive annual continuing education in radiation safety. This presentation is designed to provide dental personnel with sufficient information about radiation safety to address this issue.


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