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

Answer posted on 28 October 2017. The information posted on this web page is intended as general reference information only. Specific facts and circumstances may affect the applicability of concepts, materials, and information described herein. The information provided is not a substitute for professional advice and should not be relied upon in the absence of such professional advice. To the best of our knowledge, answers are correct at the time they are posted. Be advised that over time, requirements could change, new data could be made available, and Internet links could change, affecting the correctness of the answers. Answers are the professional opinions of the expert responding to each question; they do not necessarily represent the position of the Health Physics Society.