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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.
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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