Radiation hygiene is critical to providing patient safety.

You wear gloves, sterilize your instruments, and disinfect your work surfaces and use barrier protection. By practicing these and other universal standards, you assume you are keeping your patients and staff as safe as possible in the practice environment.

But what about radiation safety? You provide aprons with thyroid protection, are judicious about taking radiographs only when diagnostically necessary, and use high-speed film or digital sensors. By practicing these standards, recommended by the ADA,1 CDC, and National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurement (NCRP and state radiation guidelines), again you assume you are doing everything you can to minimize patient and staff exposure to ionizing radiation. However, if you are taking only these steps, you are not enough.

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