Why do we INSIST on Taking X-rays?
Many of you have concerns about dental x-rays and the amount of radiation you are being exposed to. You may think they are useless. Many people even say, "they are just another thing you're going to charge me for". X-rays are extremely important for many reasons! If you're worried about the radiation exposure, don't be. Technology with x-rays have come a long way and the amount of radiation exposure is miniscule. We take x-rays to diagnose and detect problems you may have before they develop in to larger problems. If we don't catch the problems early there is no way I can save you from the pain, time and expense that you will encounter. It is my job as a dentist to give all my patients the knowledge and the best dental care that they can afford and that comes with catching potential issues early. Some examples of what x-rays can detect are: decay (either new decay or recurrent), disease in the bone or bone loss, periodontal disease, infections that develop under your gums, and some types of tumors. The best answer to why we recommend to take x-rays is dental x-rays show things that we can not clinically see with our own eyes.
An example of importance:
Earlier this year and patient came in for his 6 month cleaning. He does come every 6 months right on schedule to get his teeth cleaned. We like to update panoramic x-rays every 3-5 years depending on your insurance coverage. This patient has been refusing x-rays for a few years now and we explained the importance of them to him. His panorex was 7 years old (At least 2 years over due). He let us take new bitewings and a new pan. On this pan it showed a golf ball size abnormality. We transferred the x-ray over to an oral surgeon to examine and instructed the patient to go for a consult. The surgeon determined that it was only a cyst but it should be removed as it was getting bigger and could potentially become life threatening. Our patient has to return every few months for a follow-up. Needless to say, he no longer refuses recommended x-rays.