General Question

flutherother's avatar

How often do you have your teeth X-rayed?

Asked by flutherother (21329 points ) April 10th, 2012

Every time I see my dentist he is keen to take X-Rays. I am always reluctant but he assures me the doses are tiny and pose no health risk. Today I read this study.

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15 Answers

chyna's avatar

I hate articles like that. “Dental x-rays have been implicated in…”
“People who have had dental x-rays have had brain tumors…”
Yes and these people also brushed their teeth, ate eggs, drank water or whatever. This is just a scare tactic and if there is no conclusive evidence, it shouldn’t be written.
I get dental x-rays every six months. I have since I was a child. So far, no brain tumors!

YARNLADY's avatar

Our insurance company will only pay for x-rays once a year, so I limit mine to that.

Bellatrix's avatar

When I was in the UK, my dentist used to do X-Rays every time I went to the dentist (about every six months). My Australian dentist (who recently retired :-( ) never does them. I think he has done one in years. I asked him about it. He said he only uses them when he feels he needs the additional information they can provide. Mostly he said he can see what he needs to know and he doesn’t like to use them without a reason. He could charge me for doing them. So it would be to his benefit to do them.

I don’t have any holes in my teeth. I have never left the dentist and then found a cavity has been missed.

SpatzieLover's avatar

Once per year at most, and I have on a full apron & a thyroid protector when they take them that’s their policy

Lightlyseared's avatar

The current trend is to go for targeted mini x-rays of individual teeth as opposed to the full mouth job. With the mini x-rays the dose is so small as to not be worth worrying about. Having said that you really shouldn’t be having anything x-rayed unless you really need to.

PhiNotPi's avatar

The study was based off of the patient’s memories of being scanned, not the actual dental records of the person. This brings in the effect of observation bias, and reduces the conclusiveness of the study.

JustPlainBarb's avatar

My husband and I see our dentist twice a year and get full mouth X-rays every 2 years. Between the 2 of us, we have 3 cavities and no gum problems. I have a feeling the X-ray frequency may be based on your dental health and insurance regs.

I can’t imagine needing X-ray more than once a year .. unless your dental situation is tentative.

JLeslie's avatar

Once every 2–3 years. When I hit 50 I might go to once a year.

I believe in limiting exposure to xrays. I just had an accident and was super scanned, CT from my head to my pelvis. I am glad I haven’t been getting lots of xrays my whole life, cause you never know when you are going to really need xrays done.

Anyone who says xrays are no big deal, there is radiation in our every day lives pisses me off. No, we do not have that much radiation in one day directed at one area of our body.

gondwanalon's avatar

Life is filled with risks and we have to balance the risks with the benefits. We can’t stay hold up in a lead lined capsule all our lives. A x-country flight or sun bathing will likely expose you more to X-Rays than a dental exposure.

But to answer your question, they take X-Rays of my teeth twice a year during the cleanings. Recently I had a tooth implant in which two full face X-Rays were taken prior to the procedure and 7 single X-Rays were taken during the implant procedure.

Sunny2's avatar

My dentist takes x-rays about every 2 years. I’m not concerned about the cancer possibility. I’ve had it and it no longer frightens me. My teeth are probably the strongest part of my physiognomy . . . long sturdy roots and they’ll probably last the rest of my life, Dr. K says. I’ve had only occasional need for anything but cleaning. It’s a good thing because I’m really don’t relish the idea of needing any more drilling.

JLeslie's avatar

Those of you being zapped twice a year, how many of you have had the dentist see a problem on xray he could not see with his own eyes that needed treatment? I realize some people have a lot of tooth problems, so they need the xrays, but the average person is probably xrayed for 20 years with nothing that needs treatment. I made that stat up, but most cavities are seen by looking in someone’s mouth I think. Other problems tend to have symptoms. As we get older things start to fall apart a little, then it might make sense to xray more. I really think xrays are mostly a way to make some money, and the medical establishment llikes to think xrays don’t harm anyone. If you have dental insurance I encourage you to think about if you paid for the xrays every time, would you do them that often?

gondwanalon's avatar

@JLeslie My dentist showed me (on an x-ray film) decay under the edges of a crown. He pointed out a darker zone that was not present on any of the other crowns. I’m no expert at interpreting x-ray films of teeth so I trusted him. When he removed the crown he discovered the there was too much decay to replace the crown and the tooth had to be extracted. I chose to have an implant to replace the diseased tooth.

Is it possible that my dentist is taking advantage of me? I suppose. I doubt it because the excellent care that he has given me over the last 8 years.

JLeslie's avatar

@gondwanalon You have a crown. I have nothing of the sort. The majority of people under 40 I would bet have 0–3 cavaties, and that is the extent of their tooth problems. For you the xray yearly makes sense.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

The only time I ever give permission to take x-rays is when I change dentists. I also would do so if I felt that there was a problem.

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