Guidance Notes for Dental Practitioners on the Safe Use of X-ray Equipment


Guidance Notes for Dental Practitioners on the Safe Use of X-ray Equipment, Second edition sets standards for the safe use of X-ray equipment within dental practice. It is co-published by Public Health England and the Faculty of General Dental Practice UK, and endorsed by the College of General Dentistry.

The Guidance Notes are available in hard copy and free of charge online.

Since the publication of the first edition in 2001, technological advances have been made in dental X-ray equipment and imaging techniques, radiation protection legislation has been revised and professional best practice guidelines updated. To reflect this, the second edition of the Guidance Notes has been completely revised and updated.

Presenting the definitive, detailed and comprehensive recommendations in a logically ordered and intelligible format, the new edition is designed as a reference for the whole primary care dental team.

The Guidance Notes include:

  • existing guidance on dental cone-beam CT (CBCT), hand-held dental X-ray equipment and digital imaging systems
  • updated guidance on:
    • radiation controlled areas
    • the training of referrers, practitioners and operators with respect to dental CBCT
    • acceptance, commissioning and routine radiation safety tests for all dental X-ray equipment and the recommended intervals (extended to every three years for most dental CBCT equipment) between routine tests
    • a simplified system for image quality rating and analysis
    • a simplified approach to quality assurance of digital imaging systems and viewing screens
  • new guidance with respect to the requirements:
    • for dental practices to register with the HSE (or HSENI)
    • to investigate the circumstances when contingency plans are activated, and on the need to rehearse contingency plans
    • to monitor radiation levels at the boundaries of controlled areas
    • to assess doses to persons who need to enter controlled areas
    • for employers to co-operate when employees work with dental X-ray equipment on another employer’s premises, including arrangements for the formal handover of responsibility
    • regarding what should be expected of service engineers who undertake the installation, testing and servicing of dental X-ray equipment
    • when disposing of or selling-on X-ray equipment
    • for record retention
  • detailed practical guidance on how to achieve the optimisation of patient dose
  • template documents, including a radiation risk assessment and the employer’s procedures relevant to dentistry

The guidance was produced by a working party led by Public Health England, and consisting of regulatory bodies, professional bodies representing dentistry and radiation protection, consultant dental radiologists and general dental practitioners.


Paperback 192 pages 198 x 129 mm
GDP members: 
978-1-8381964-0-0, e-ISBN: 978-1-8381964-1-7
October 2020