Date of Award

Spring 2018

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Dental Hygiene

Committee Director

Ann Bruhn

Committee Member

Lynn Tolle

Committee Member

Norou Diawara

Abstract

Problem: The purpose of this study was to determine licensed dental hygienists’ current radiation safety practices.

Methods: Data was collected with a 22 item, IRB exempt online survey administered to a sample of 1,500 U.S. dental hygienists who were subscribers of a professional journal. Questions focused on respondents’ use of ADA selection criteria guidelines, policies implemented by their dental practice, and hand-held portable x-ray device use and training. A response rate of 38% (N=566) was obtained. Cross tabulations were obtained using logistic regression and general linear models for significance at a 0.05 level.

Results: A majority of respondents had an associate’s degree (62%), participated in a radiology course for two semesters or less (84%), and were aged 55 and above (41%) with 31 or more years of experience (38%). Dental hygienists were significantly more likely to select the appropriate criteria for determining radiographic need with more years of experience (p=0.0340; SE=0.1093). Dental hygienists with a bachelor’s degree or higher were significantly more likely to use radiographic techniques that reduce radiation exposure than those with an Associate’s degree (p=0.0080; SE=0.0169). Only 57% of respondents who currently use a hand-held portable x-ray device received training prior to use. Respondents were significantly more likely to wear a clinician lead apron when using a hand-held device if they had recently taken dental radiation safety continuing education (CE) courses (p=0.0093; M=1.571; SD=1.222).

Conclusion: Dental hygienists with more years of experience, a higher level of education, and recent CE course work were more likely to follow the ADA selection criteria guidelines and use the appropriate technique to reduce exposure to ionizing radiation.

DOI

10.25777/d161-ad97

ISBN

9780355959802

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