Quality Management in Dental Radiology. Another Pending Issue in Chile

2024 • Volume 18 • Issue 2

Carlos Ubeda



Dear Editor:

The recent report of the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) confirmed that medical exposures to ionizing radiation continues to represent the main source of irradiation in the world population (United Nations Scientific Committee on Effects of Atomic Radiations, 2022). Among these, dental radiology procedures are the most frequent type of radiological studies, as noted from 21 % in the 2008 report, (United Nations Scientific Committee on Effects of Atomic Radiations, 2010), to 26 % of total examinations worldwide (United Nations Scientific Committee on Effects of Atomic Radiations, 2022). The annual number of dental radiology examinations increased from 520 million (United Nations Scientific Committee on Effects of Atomic Radiations, 2010) to 1.1 billion, an increase of approximately 112 %, and their average annual frequency has increased from 74 to 151 examinations per 1,000 inhabitants per year (United Nations Scientific Committee on Effects of Atomic, 2022).

The above mentioned background highlights the importance of an ongoing concern to carry out safe and judicious use of dental radiology techniques in our country. In this sense, since 2018 the research group of the Universidad de Tarapacá with a Personal Dosimetry Laboratory (LABODOP) and its Master’s program in Medical Physics in Diagnostic Imaging has been developing a series of scientific articles that have addressed related topics such as: How much research has been carried out in Chile, in relation to radiological safety and protection in dental radiological procedures (Ubeda, 2018; Ubeda et al., 2018); Reference Levels for Diagnosis in Dental Radiological Procedures: A Practical Guide (Ubeda et al., 2020); Reference Levels for Local Diagnosis in Periapical Dental Radiographic Procedures. First values for Chile (Nocetti et al., 2021) and; Ethical Aspects of Radiological Protection in Dental Radiology Procedures (Ubeda et al., 2021).

However, neither these works nor other works published in the 49 issues of the journal available in the Scielo Chile page between the years 2010-2023 (International Journal of Odontostomatology, 2024), have proposed the development of Quality Management as a construct for radiation safety. In this sense, dental radiology procedures are a complex activity that involves different physical processes, equipment and specialists (Sociedad Española de Física Médica et al., 2011). A breakdown in any link of this process is associated with an adverse effect in the Quality of this procedure. Therefore, the loss of Quality has ethical implications as well, (higher radiation dose to the patient and loss of diagnostic information from the image), a financial impact (increased costs due to repeated exams and lower performance in the number of exams carried out), all reasons underscoring the importance of managing these procedures. We must advance on improving Quality management for dental radiology services, explaining, for instance, its definition and how a Quality Management System, Quality Assurance and its corresponding system should be applied, as well as Quality Controls in periapical radiological equipment, orthopantomography and cone beam tomographs (CBCT).

KEY WORDS: dental radiology, quality, quality management, quality assurance and quality control.


How to cite this article

UBEDA, C. Quality Management in Dental Radiology. Another Pending Issue in Chile. Int. J. Odontostomat., 18(2):127-128, 2024.


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