The use of radiographic imaging technologies by general dentists in Ontario, Canada

Oral Surgery, Oral Medicine, Oral Pathology and Oral Radiology

Available online 14 August 2020

 Available online 14 August 2020


The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional digital imaging technologies, the methods used by general dentists to limit patient exposure to ionizing radiation, and the impact of dentists’ education on imaging technologies and patient dose-reducing techniques.

Study Design

A cross-sectional, web-based survey of all general dentists in Ontario was conducted.


Responses from 1332 (14.7%) of the 9052 registered general dentists in Ontario were included in the analysis. Approximately 89% reported using digital intraoral technology, 81.1% reported owning panoramic imaging systems, 71.2% reported making referrals for cone beam computed tomography (CBCT), and 9.5% reported including CBCT in their practices. CBCT was most commonly used for dental implant treatment planning (85.8%), followed by endodontics (45.4%), evaluation of pathology (39.6%), and surgical assessment for impacted teeth or difficult extractions (36.8%). Approximately 32.7% used only collimators with a long focal point–receptor distance and 8% used only rectangular collimation; 86.9% reported using a thyroid collar when imaging patients. Differences in educational backgrounds correlated with differences in the use of imaging and dose-reducing techniques.


There is widespread adoption of digital imaging technologies by general dentists in Ontario, including CBCT. Greater implementation of long and/or rectangular collimation could markedly reduce the ionizing radiation dose to patients. Changes in dental education curricula and continuing education course offerings may address these issues.


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