Answer to Question #12203 Submitted to "Ask the Experts"

Category: Medical and Dental Patient Issues — Dental

The following question was answered by an expert in the appropriate field:


I have a question about the dentist. Do they use remote-control buttons when they take bitewing x rays as opposed to an exposure switch on the wall outside the room or behind the patient (which I know is also sometimes used)? If they use remote-control switches, are they corded so they can be moved only a certain distance from the patient, or are they like a TV remote where you have a wide field from which to activate the x-ray machine? I don't like the dentist, and x-ray machines bother me because I don't understand them.


Intraoral units usually have an exposure switch mounted on the wall outside the room where the x-ray unit is located. Some units, however, do have remote-control exposure switches. When a remote switch is used, it is typically on a cord at least 2 meters (m) long so that the x-ray machine operator can get to a shielded area, such as a hallway, to make the x-ray exposure.

There is also at least one vendor that sells wireless control switches to allow the x-ray operator to make the x-ray exposure. This allows the operators to make the exposure while giving them the option to stand in different locations. Based on state regulations, the x-ray operator would still have to stand in a shielded area or at a minimum distance from the x-ray unit and patient while making the exposure.

Kennith "Duke" Lovins, CHP

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