Open Up And Say, “AHHHH, No thanks”

Most of us grew up in an era of dentistry when X-rays were a new tool. But although X-ray technology has vastly improved over the years (lowering dosages, digitizing the imaging, etc.,) so too have alternate diagnostic methodologies. As a result, the concept of yearly, full mouth periapacal X-rays is no longer advisable. And while most dentists no longer do this type of study, other types of X-rays may also be used too frequently. These include: bitewings, full head and jaw (cephalographs), panographs, and 3-D cone-beam computed tomography. Your older X-rays films on file can often be used in the absence of any new symptoms. For example, adults with few or no cavities probably need new bitewings only every 2-3 years (for cavity prone adults, every 18 months, which is about how long it takes a cavity to show up on an X-ray.) Today’s dentists are open to hear your concerns and there are often good reasons to take X-rays but do not be afraid to ask for clarification of the necessity of new films. Remember, you can always come back for the X-ray when you are convinced you really need it by speaking with others in the field.


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