Background The aim of this study was to evaluate the amount of radiation doses absorbed by soft tissues (entrance skin dose) with a low-dose spiral computed tomography (CT) protocol compared to conventional X-ray techniques commonly used in orthodontics. Methods The amount of skin dose has been evaluated using a tissue-equivalent head-neck radiotherapy humanoid phantom with thermoluminescent dosimeters placed at the level of eye lens, parotid glands, and thyroid glands. CT images have been taken using a Sensation 16 Siemens CT scan and a low-dose protocol (15 mAs, 1 pitch, 2.5 mGy (CTDIvol), 80 kV, 1-mm slice thickness). Results The difference in image quality between traditional X-ray techniques and low-dose spiral CT was statistically significant (P <0.05). The difference in mean absorbed dose instead was not statistically significant. Conclusions Our protocol allows a more accurate orthodontic diagnosis without an increase of radiological risk for the patients in comparison to traditional X-ray techniques.
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