Assessment of Knowledge and Attitude of Pregnant Women towards Dental Diagnostic Radiation Hazards: A Cross-sectional Study
Dr. T Sivasankari,
Reader, Department Oral Medicine and Radiology, Indira Gandhi Institute of Dental Sciences, Sri Balji Vidyapeeth, Pillayarkuppam, India.
Introduction: Pregnancy is associated with reduced immunity and greater susceptibility to infection than any other population. According to the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP), thousands of pregnant women are exposed to diagnostic medical ionising radiation each year. The effects of radiation exposure can be classified as deterministic or stochastic. The deterministic effects occur principally above a threshold dose, reflecting cell death. The stochastic effect occurs sometimes after exposure and is mainly represented by radiation-induced cancer.
Aim: To evaluate the knowledge and attitude towards dental radiation hazards among pregnant women visiting a tertiary healthcare centre.
Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional, self-designed and structured 15-item questionnaire study was conducted among 84 pregnant women to assess their knowledge and awareness about radiation hazards at Mahatma Gandhi Medical College, Puducherry, India, from January 2021 to June 2021. The data was collected and statistically analysed using the Chi-square test. The percentage, mean, and standard deviation were calculated for each participant. Cronbach’s alpha test was used to assess the reliability of the questionnaire and inter-item statistics.
Results: The study population consisted of pregnant women with an age range of 20 to 35 years, with a mean age of 27.7 years. The result showed 15 (17.9%) of pregnant women knew that X-rays are harmful to the foetus and 10 (11.9%) of pregnant women were aware that they should reveal their pregnancy status before undergoing dental radiographic procedures.
Conclusion: On an average, 40-80% of pregnant women had a lack of knowledge about dental radiation hazards and their effects, which clearly shows that there is a need for educating pregnant women about the hazards and risks associated with radiation exposure.