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B. How To Reduce Radiation Exposure At The Dentist

Narrator: This is Science Today. Dental x-rays, are key to diagnosing and treating a patient's condition. But Dr. Stuart White, who heads UCLA's Oral Radiology Department, says patients should work with their dentist to minimize their radiation exposure.

White: The name of the game is getting the most diagnostic information with the least amount of radiation. The amount of radiation one gets from a dental x-ray exposure is very low. But it's not zero.

Narrator: White recommends patients bring records of old x-rays to new dentists and be aware of tools of the trade, such as film speed..

White: Dentists have been using D speed film, but for about the last ten years, there's a new type of film called E speed film, and it requires only half the exposure of D speed film.

Narrator: Another tip, is to ask if your dentist uses rectangular collimation, which reduces radiation exposure.

White: You know your dentist is using rectangular collimation when the shape of the tube coming from the x-ray machine pointed towards your jaw is a rectangle, rather than a large circle.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.