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Dental X-rays and Mammograms: Could radiation exposure increase your risk for thyroid cancer?

There has been some recent debate over the issue of radiation exposure during dental and mammogram x-rays and the possibility of increased risk of thyroid cancer. The American Dental Association (ADA) believes that the radiation exposure during dental x-rays is relatively low. That being said, they still feel that precaution should be taken to help minimize the exposure. The ADA recommends that dentists use leaded aprons and leaded thyroid collar/shields.  This precaution is strongly recommended for children, women of childbearing age, and pregnant women.

The American College of Radiology and the Society for Breast Imaging feel that the radiation dose to the thyroid from a mammogram is extremely low and they urge patients not to put off necessary breast imaging. In addition, they do not recommend the use of a thyroid collar/shield during mammography as it could result in shadows and reduce the quality of the image and interfere with the diagnosis.

Being informed is your best protection. If you have a concern about possible radiation exposure during these tests, talk with your healthcare provider and determine what is right for you.  For more information, you may visit and

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