How often do you allow your dentist to x-ray your teeth?

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CobraKai
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How often do you allow your dentist to x-ray your teeth?

Post by CobraKai » Fri Nov 01, 2019 8:57 am

Some say there is little to no risk to the radiation exposure. I've read some material that says otherwise.

I had an ordeal with one tooth over the past year, and probably had 5-6 x-rays between several professionals (original dentist who botched a crown then retired, second opinion dentist, endodontist prior to root canal, etc). Now I'm going back to the dentist who replaced my retired dentist whose advice I probably should have listened to to begin with.

Anyway, I recall his hygienist pushing for x-rays last year during my last teeth cleaning. No doubt they will push for the x rays again. I think their office last did a full set 2 or maybe 3 years ago.

rk6
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Re: How often do you allow your dentist to x-ray your teeth?

Post by rk6 » Fri Nov 01, 2019 9:06 am

In the absence of a specific problem or reason to do otherwise, my wife and I have settled on every two years for general mouth xrays. If the hygienist pushes back we hold firm.
Last edited by rk6 on Fri Nov 01, 2019 9:07 am, edited 1 time in total.

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whodidntante
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Re: How often do you allow your dentist to x-ray your teeth?

Post by whodidntante » Fri Nov 01, 2019 9:06 am

As often as recommended assuming insurance will pay for it. If you feel differently just give a firm no.

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JoeRetire
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Re: How often do you allow your dentist to x-ray your teeth?

Post by JoeRetire » Fri Nov 01, 2019 9:08 am

I get x-rays every few years. But I haven't had a filling since I was a child, my teeth are in great shape, and I have no pain.

You may need them more often. see: https://www.webmd.com/oral-health/denta ... get-them#1

I'm not sure what you read that would worry you about exposure risks. Maybe you should stop reading that source.
Last edited by JoeRetire on Fri Nov 01, 2019 9:10 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: How often do you allow your dentist to x-ray your teeth?

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Fri Nov 01, 2019 9:08 am

I think insurance will pay every 2 years? I know my dentist looks carefully and if we're 1 day too soon for insurance, he'll put it off till my next visit in 6 months.
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brianH
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Re: How often do you allow your dentist to x-ray your teeth?

Post by brianH » Fri Nov 01, 2019 9:16 am

If your dentist is using modern equipment, the radiation exposure from a bitewing x-ray is much lower than the normal background radiation you are exposed to daily. The panoramic x-rays are higher doses, but still less than you experience from taking a cross-country flight. In other words, almost certainly nothing to worry about when used infrequently.

I believe the general guidelines set by the ADA are bitewings once a year or so for people with a history of cavities, and every 2-3 for those without. The panoramic is more dentist-specific, but I think mine does it every 3-5.

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Watty
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Re: How often do you allow your dentist to x-ray your teeth?

Post by Watty » Fri Nov 01, 2019 9:19 am

When researching this one thing to keep in mind is that the digital x-rays require a lot less radiation exposure than the old film x-rays so there is a lot less concern about them. A quick google looked like it could be 90% less.

When you are researching this be sure to distinguish between old literature that looks at film dental x-rays and the current digital x-rays.

I don't think I have had a film dental x-ray for close to ten years now.

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CobraKai
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Re: How often do you allow your dentist to x-ray your teeth?

Post by CobraKai » Fri Nov 01, 2019 9:25 am

brianH wrote:
Fri Nov 01, 2019 9:16 am
If your dentist is using modern equipment, the radiation exposure from a bitewing x-ray is much lower than the normal background radiation you are exposed to daily. The panoramic x-rays are higher doses, but still less than you experience from taking a cross-country flight. In other words, almost certainly nothing to worry about when used infrequently.

I believe the general guidelines set by the ADA are bitewings once a year or so for people with a history of cavities, and every 2-3 for those without. The panoramic is more dentist-specific, but I think mine does it every 3-5.
I've well exceeded that. In the past year, I have had a half dozen x-rays in that area where the bad tooth is.

That's why I'm thinking maybe skip it and hold off for another year or two.

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Re: How often do you allow your dentist to x-ray your teeth?

Post by RickBoglehead » Fri Nov 01, 2019 9:26 am

Panoramic seems to have gone by the wayside with the digital x-rays. Our dentist does them when insurance allows, all digital now.
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Re: How often do you allow your dentist to x-ray your teeth?

Post by Nestegg_User » Fri Nov 01, 2019 9:29 am

brianH wrote:
Fri Nov 01, 2019 9:16 am
If your dentist is using modern equipment, the radiation exposure from a bitewing x-ray is much lower than the normal background radiation you are exposed to daily. The panoramic x-rays are higher doses, but still less than you experience from taking a cross-country flight. In other words, almost certainly nothing to worry about when used infrequently.

I believe the general guidelines set by the ADA are bitewings once a year or so for people with a history of cavities, and every 2-3 for those without. The panoramic is more dentist-specific, but I think mine does it every 3-5.
I'll say that new sensor technology, that requires a lower flux, has been used by dentists for some time now (as opposed to old photographic films). This also allows for redo's if not adequate (at lower exposures than a single film was before).

To make this further actionable: I'd investigated the companies that provide the sensors for dentists and, unfortunately, they were all privately held concerns. (this was a few years ago) I'd investigated because, having done some calculations on the up front costs including replacement sensors, in case they get damaged by a patient, the payback is about three years and also allows for better patient electronic records. I knew that it would be an easy sell to dentists (no development costs or disposal costs for film and no need for separate area with separate exhaust in the office...so definitely lower costs for practice).

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Re: How often do you allow your dentist to x-ray your teeth?

Post by nisiprius » Fri Nov 01, 2019 9:41 am

(Shrug) I let the dentist do it when she thinks she should. She uses something electronic and the images comes up on a laptop.

Everything I've ever read has said that dental x-rays expose you to a relatively small amount of radiation compared to other radiological imaging.

Yep... Radiation Dose in X-Ray and CT Exams

Dental, 0.005 mSv.
Procedures with "CT" in their names, 1.5 to 20 mSv.

So the lowest-exposure CT scan = 300 dental x-rays.

Now, I'm not dismissive of concerns about ionizing radiation. I lived through the days of atmospheric bomb testing and the government pretty much lying about it, and Kodak had a bunch of film ruined because the cardboard cartons were made of something that had so much fallout in it that it was fogging the film inside.

And I wonder if the docs would speak up, I sometimes get the impression that hospitals are using more CT scans and fewer MRIs, perhaps because of space and cost considerations and the helium shortage... is this happening?
Last edited by nisiprius on Fri Nov 01, 2019 9:52 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: How often do you allow your dentist to x-ray your teeth?

Post by adamthesmythe » Fri Nov 01, 2019 9:46 am

CobraKai wrote:
Fri Nov 01, 2019 8:57 am
Some say there is little to no risk to the radiation exposure.
Umm, nobody says that.

People DO say that the additional risk associated with some radiation exposures is minimal to undetectable.

That may well be true for dental X-rays, especially with modern electronic imagers.

I now ask about the reason for an X-ray but don't worry much. As you get older more complex procedures make several X-rays desirable.

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Re: How often do you allow your dentist to x-ray your teeth?

Post by dm200 » Fri Nov 01, 2019 9:49 am

My recent dentists normally and routinely do the full mouth ones every two years - and bite-wing more frequently (cannot recall exact frequency).

I had a lot of work done earlier this year - and some of that work required the dentist to do some X-Rays of those areas.

My understanding of the added health risks (cancer) of X-Rays is that those risks go down as we age - so, now as I am older, I am less concerned about X-Rays and similar tests/scans (such as CT). Those risks are not zero, however, so I try to avoid unnecessary exposure.

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Re: How often do you allow your dentist to x-ray your teeth?

Post by CZjc1330 » Fri Nov 01, 2019 9:56 am

I live in FL. Most dentists try to x-ray once a year. But the Am. Dental Associa. out of Wash., DC recommends once every two years. Yes, less radiation than in the bad old days, but it's a profitable endeavor for some dentists. AARP had an article a few years ago, they rec. every two years as well. Good luck!

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Re: How often do you allow your dentist to x-ray your teeth?

Post by Nowizard » Fri Nov 01, 2019 10:42 am

Bite wing (Two X-rays) every 18 months, full mouth every five years.

Tim

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Stef
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Re: How often do you allow your dentist to x-ray your teeth?

Post by Stef » Fri Nov 01, 2019 10:46 am

Radiation exposure...

I hope you never took an international flight. That gives you more radiation than standing in front of the Tchernobyl power plant.

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Re: How often do you allow your dentist to x-ray your teeth?

Post by Hikes_With_Dogs » Fri Nov 01, 2019 10:59 am

I eat a banana every day and don't worry about the radiation.
I fly every month and don't worry about the radiation.
Same with dental x-rays. The rewards from having healthy teeth far exceed any risk from a tiny dose.

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Picasso
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Re: How often do you allow your dentist to x-ray your teeth?

Post by Picasso » Fri Nov 01, 2019 11:32 am

My dentist will only allow x-ray of his own mouth once every 5 years due to radiation exposure. I trust his risk assessment and so my wife and I have adopted this cadence. My teeth are sealed with no cavities.

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Re: How often do you allow your dentist to x-ray your teeth?

Post by MotoTrojan » Fri Nov 01, 2019 11:36 am

brianH wrote:
Fri Nov 01, 2019 9:16 am
If your dentist is using modern equipment, the radiation exposure from a bitewing x-ray is much lower than the normal background radiation you are exposed to daily. The panoramic x-rays are higher doses, but still less than you experience from taking a cross-country flight. In other words, almost certainly nothing to worry about when used infrequently.

I believe the general guidelines set by the ADA are bitewings once a year or so for people with a history of cavities, and every 2-3 for those without. The panoramic is more dentist-specific, but I think mine does it every 3-5.
While true, what are the risks of an incorrectly performed test over-exposing a patient?

I've never thought twice about getting an x-ray, but I also don't visit the dentist as often as I should...

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Re: How often do you allow your dentist to x-ray your teeth?

Post by oldcomputerguy » Fri Nov 01, 2019 11:45 am

This topic has run its course and has been locked. Concerns regarding excessive exposure to X-rays constitute a medical issue, discussion of which is outside the scope of the forum. See Unacceptable Topics:
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