The American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology (AAOMR) provided this statement in response to a study published two years ago in the journal Cancer and which claimed there’s a link between dental x-rays and the risk of developing a brain tumour called a meningioma.
A number of irreconcilable data collection and consistency problems highlight serious flaws in the study and render the conclusions invalid. One major weakness of this study was the requirement for subjects to recall their dental radiography history from decades ago when they were children. As recall is known to be highly unreliable, asking a subject to recall an event 50 years ago or more is likely considerably unreliable. Second, bitewing radiographs (typically 2 to 4 x-ray exposures) were reported to place patients at a higher risk of meningioma than a full mouth series of radiographs (up to 20 exposures, 2 to 4 of which are bitewings); a finding that cannot be rationally reconciled from a radiobiological standpoint.
Taken together, the methodological weaknesses of this study put the validity of any relationship between dental radiographs and meningioma into serious question. Oral and maxillofacial radiography is an important diagnostic tool in the armamentarium of the dentist, and the American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology continues to endorse its careful and judicious use in dentistry.