Dental x-rays are one of the lowest radiation dose exposures in the medical industry but it is still important to adhere to safety precautions and take protective measures such as wearing a dosimeter badge to monitor radiation exposure, since radiation cannot be detected by the human senses. But not all radiation dosimeters are created equal. The type of dosimeter you use matters.

Here’s a look at two types of dosimeter badges.

Passive dosimeters are badges that measure dose from the first time the device is used until the time it is processed. Some use a piece of photographic film, which records exposure to different types of radiation. Like other types of film, these images need to be processed before they are read. That means that employers have to collect badges after a certain amount of time, end them to a facility to be read and determine the amount of radiation exposure captured by the device. They must then distribute new badges to all employees. Rinse and repeat.

Another type of dosimeter uses direction storage technology to measure and record radiation exposure. This device allows users to capture radiation dosage instantly through a mobile device or internet-enabled computer. Health care organizations can create online reports detailing radiation exposure for each employee, and employees don’t need to trade in their badges for new ones —they can simply download the information and go right back to using their device. If the employee exceeds the dose level specified, he or she will see this information once the Instadoseapplication is opened on a mobile device or computer and dose readings are transferred from the badge for review.

Every organization has different needs, which is why radiation monitoring is a necessity. Knowing about the various options available is important when making the right decision for your office. Ultimately, you want to spend your time treating patients—and you need a device that will help you do so safely and efficiently.