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Dentists: Follow Texas X-Ray Regulations Despite ADA Updates

Dentists in Texas are still required to comply with the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners (TSBDE) rule on patient shielding during X-rays, despite the ADA's new recommendation against using lead aprons and thyroid collars. Texas requires lead aprons and thyroid collars for patient protection during X-rays, with exceptions for specific imaging needs. Dentists can use non-lead aprons if they offer equivalent protection.
Dentists must follow apron and collar best practices, storing aprons flat and regularly examining aprons and collars for defects. Dentists must properly dispose of lead aprons since many municipalities consider them hazardous waste. Dentists can inquire about recycling programs from equipment manufacturers or contact commercial X-ray companies for disposal, as suggested by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
The Texas Department of State Health Services' dental radiation rules do not specifically address patient shielding, and the Radiation Control Program does not check for lead aprons and thyroid collars during X-ray equipment inspections.
The TSBDE’s Dental Practice Committee will discuss the dental board’s patient shielding rule in light of the ADA's update during its February 15, 2024, meeting. Any changes to the existing regulation will be communicated to TDA members.

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