Use of Ionising Radiation for Dental Purposes
The Dental Council was given statutory duties and responsibility with regard to the use of ionising radiation for dental purposes under Statutory Instrument 478 of 2002 “The European Communities (Medical Ionising Radiation Protection) Regulations”. The Council has agreed the following policy in relation to the use of ionising radiation for dental purposes:
- The Dental Council supports the maintenance of high radiographic standards in dental practice.
- A Prescriber is a registered dental practitioner under Section 26 of the Dentists Act 1985.
- A Prescriber may request a radiographic examination for dental purposes and shall indicate in writing on the patients’ record his/her reason for requesting that particular exposure.
- A Practitioner as defined in these regulations shall be the person who can determine that exposure to radiation for dental purposes is justified and that the procedures followed are such that the dose of ionising radiation to the patient is as low as reasonably achievable in order to achieve the required effect.
- In dental practice in Ireland a Practitioner and a Prescriber will in all likelihood be one and the same person.
- The dental exposure shall show a sufficient net benefit compared with any detriment that exposure might cause. The radiation dose shall be as low as is reasonably achievable for the aims of the radiographic examination being undertaken.
- The Dental Council recognises that the practical aspects of a radiological procedure for dental purposes may be delegated by the Practitioner to an individual who has successfully completed a course in radiation safety and technique approved by Council. In Dental practice this person must be either a registered dental nurse or dental hygienist and work under the supervision of the Practitioner.
Under Statutory Instrument 478 of 2002 the Dental Council has established the following:
Clinical Audit Criteria
Protocols for Standard Radiological Practice (amended)
Dose Constraints for Helpers
Diagnostic Reference Levels
Prohibition of Vertex Occlusal Projections
Cone Beam Computed Tomography (CBCT) Guidelines
Dental Council Statement regarding Statutory Instrument SI 256 of 2018 - Basic Safety Standards Directive.
Statutory Instrument SI 256 of 2018 came into force on 8 January 2019. This transposed European Council Directive 2013/59/EURATOM which sets the basic safety standards for protection against the dangers arising from exposure to ionising radiation. Statutory Instrument SI 478 of 2002 is now repealed and HIQA has become the competent authority for much of the guidance that previously rested with Dental Council. The Dental Council will be working with HIQA to provide for a smooth transfer of this responsibility.
Even though the documents above regarding ionising radiation retain no legal basis under SI 256 of 2018, these documents continue to have a standing under Section 66 of the Dentists Act, 1985. This is the section that allows the Dental Council issue guidance to the profession. The Dental Council advises dentists to regard these documents as the applicable as a minimum requirement until HIQA issue their own standards and we withdraw ours.
22 May 2019