Dental assistants typically need to undergo intraoral dental assistant training before they qualify to work professionally. During this training and perhaps throughout their professional career, dental assistants may be regularly exposed to X-rays and other radiation, which can be detrimental to their overall health in the short or long run.
Although radiation exposure in this profession is unavoidable, there are a number of measures that can be taken to reduce the risk and safeguard against negative consequences. To mitigate these risks, the ALARA (as low as reasonably achievable) principle has been established as the guiding principle for hospitals and imaging centres.
In this blog, we’ll discuss the fundamentals of this principle and how to protect yourself from radiation after completing your intraoral dental assistant training.
Wear Protective Clothing and Equipment
Once you begin your dental assistant career, wearing protective gear is one of the easiest ways to reduce your exposure to radiation. When taking X-rays, dental assistants must remember to always use lead aprons, gloves, and safety glasses. Lead aprons are made to shield the body from radiation exposure. In order to prevent unintentional exposure to the skin or eyes, gloves and eye protection are also essential.
Maintain a Safe Distance From the X-ray Machine After Your Intra Oral Dental Assistant Training
Another way to reduce exposure to radiation is to maintain a safe distance from the X-ray machine. When completing your duties as a dental assistant and using an X-ray machine during intra oral dental assistant training, ensure that you maintain appropriate distance from the machine.
Health Canada recommends that you stay at least three metres away from the machine or alternatively use a protective barrier. This distance aids in lowering the radiation exposure that a dental assistant experiences.
Understand The Importance of Timing
To reduce your exposure to radiation after you become a dental assistant, timing is yet another important factor. When the X-ray machine is in operation, dental assistants are advised to stay out of the room and only enter the space when it is secure. The length of time dental assistants spend near the X-ray equipment should also be considered, as well as their radiation exposure.
As much as possible, try not to spend more time than necessary around a radioactive source. If you have to work in a space with elevated radiation levels, complete your work quickly, then exit the room.
Undergo Regular Monitoring
Once you become a dental assistant, regular monitoring may be necessary to determine your radiation exposure. Regular dosimeter readings, which calculate how much radiation a person has been exposed to, can be used for monitoring. Depending on the intensity of exposure, dosimeter readings may be done every three months or every year. Monitoring assists in minimizing the risk of negative consequences and identifying any unusual exposure.
Prioritize Continuous Education
Protection against radiation exposure for dental assistants also requires ongoing education. To stay up to date on the most recent developments in radiation protection, dental assistants should periodically attend workshops and training sessions. By keeping informed of the most recent methods and tools, you can reduce radiation exposure.
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