The following article is from Dr. Bicuspid and discusses a contoversial situation. Are we as dentists responsible for non dental findings on an x-ray. Especially with the new Cone Beam CTs?
As a general dentist you are qualifed to interpret a bitewing but that in no way equips you to read a CT scan. Can we just offer it then leave it up to the patient to request a full reading? The logical conclusion is that we should have every CBCT reviewed by a qualifed dental radiologist.
So you’ve just bought a new cone-beam CT (CBCT) machine to plan implants, and you’re marveling about its ability to literally see inside your patients’ heads. Suddenly something catches your eye. What’s that spot on the patient’s neck?
If you think that’s not your responsibility, think again. The 3D images created by cone-beam CT scans can reveal many medical problems, such as atheromas and spinal degeneration, not visible in traditional X-rays. That’s a good thing. Recognizing these signs, known as incidental findings, may allow dentists to save lives by referring imperiled patients to medical doctors.
But with the new power comes new responsibility — and potentially legal liability.