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Thread: Dental X-rays

  1. #1
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    Dental X-rays

    Today I read, on both the American Cancer Society and Web MD websites, about increased risks of the most common type of brain tumor for people who get annual dental x rays, which have always been pushed on me. I am going to say no now.

    Thank goodness for all the years I missed because I didn't have dental insurance.

    If I have a problem like a toothache then I will get them.

    It has seemed to me that most dentists use the x rays to sell fillings of increasingly minute cavities. It appears to be a profession with a lot of upselling. One dentists wouldn't go over my x rays with me because someone else at her practice took them and "I won't get the commission". There are also the chains like Aspen Dental that have jumped into the market now that it is lucrative enough.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Williamsmith's Avatar
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    The joke is that the dentist needs to see your insurance before he determines if you need an X-ray or not. Last time in, I declined and I felt like the technician cleaned my teeth with a pick axe. You can’t win.

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    It appears to be a profession with a lot of upselling.
    I had posted earlier how a dentist I saw here said I needed a crown replaced immediately and quoted me a price of $1350 without any explanation other than possible decay. I decided to get a second opinion which apparently doesn't happen often in the dental world. The second opinion dentist had to take more X-rays to look at trouble spot. Not happy about that but didn't want to alert first dentist by asking for X-rays. New dentist's verdict was that there is possible decay. Yes, it needs to be replaced but no big hurry. Just some time within the next six months to be safe. The second opinion was completely free and the quoted price for the same porcelain crown was $999. Plus the new dentist spent fifteen minutes explaining and showing me exactly what was going on and what types of crown options there were.

  4. #4
    Senior Member boss mare's Avatar
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    30+ years of working in the dental field here. Unless an office is using an X-Ray machine that is so old it belongs in a museum, there is more radiation coming off from reading your computer, watching your TV for a few hours , compared to exposure from dental films. Even less if it's a state of the art digital X-Ray unit. Also going to corporate dental offices such as Aspen, Heartland, Gentle Dental, Bright Now, etc are notorious for treating their staff awful and problems of over/under treatment, depending what type of insurance you have. My husband signed up with one from his work without asking my opinion because other than a 10.00 co-pay everything is covered at 100%. It takes an act of Congress to get them to do anything except the absolute minimum because they get paid whether you go or not. I had to go with him at one point because he had a root canal done at another office a few years back before I met him and the tooth needed a crown ( teeth become brittle and can break off of not crowned. ) and they kept telling him that he didn't need one. I finally went in with DH when he went in for cleaning and the Dr was young enough to be my grandson. He was just following what the corporate office policies are. I was very respectful, but insisted that they needed to quit putting him off and do the correct treatment. A lot of insurances requite and X-Ray for work to be approved. That happens in private practice too. It is unethical to do diagnosis and treat with out on X-ray . There is no way is no way at to see if a decay has gone to the pulp.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Williamsmith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by boss mare View Post
    30+ years of working in the dental field here. Unless an office is using an X-Ray machine that is so old it belongs in a museum, there is more radiation coming off from reading your computer, watching your TV for a few hours , compared to exposure from dental films. Even less if it's a state of the art digital X-Ray unit. Also going to corporate dental offices such as Aspen, Heartland, Gentle Dental, Bright Now, etc are notorious for treating their staff awful and problems of over/under treatment, depending what type of insurance you have. My husband signed up with one from his work without asking my opinion because other than a 10.00 co-pay everything is covered at 100%. It takes an act of Congress to get them to do anything except the absolute minimum because they get paid whether you go or not. I had to go with him at one point because he had a root canal done at another office a few years back before I met him and the tooth needed a crown ( teeth become brittle and can break off of not crowned. ) and they kept telling him that he didn't need one. I finally went in with DH when he went in for cleaning and the Dr was young enough to be my grandson. He was just following what the corporate office policies are. I was very respectful, but insisted that they needed to quit putting him off and do the correct treatment. A lot of insurances requite and X-Ray for work to be approved. That happens in private practice too. It is unethical to do diagnosis and treat with out on X-ray . There is no way is no way at to see if a decay has gone to the pulp.
    Thank you for posting this. Makes me feel better about the dental care I am receiving.

  6. #6
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Regarding upselling by dentists: I'm very lucky because my dentist is the only dentist I know who discourages me from some dental procedures. I went in with a toothache on both my upper and lower left and was so worried that I had two root canals coming. He looked and said, "it's just a sinus infection. Take a Sudafed." Sure enough, it went away in a day or two.

    Another time I asked him if he could whiten my teeth and he said, "Ahh, just go to CVS and get the kit. They work just as good."

    I've been with him for decades. He also cured me of my dentist-phobia.

    As for the radiation in X-rays, boss mare, you bring up a good point. I was reading The Better Brain and Perlmutter said that you shouldn't sleep with your cell phone closer than 3 feet from your head. You also shouldn't carry your phone around with you on your person for a long time during the day. And if you talk on the phone for more than a few minutes you should always use earbuds. Does anyone here have any thoughts or concerns about our chronic use of cell phones?
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
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    Senior Member Williamsmith's Avatar
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    I am interested in the cumulative affect all exposure has. Microwave, cell phone, X-ray, mri, television and in my case I spent many years exposed to k band radar. I know an Ohio Trooper who sued for radar causing his testicular cancer. These considerations are just part of the nostalgia of looking back at simpler times not worrying about the negative side of technologies. But then, there were other things that got you earlier that we have abated.

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    For the reasons boss mare gave, Iím totally at ease with dental x-rays.

    For years, we had a dreadful dentist. He was rough and rude. It would take days for my mouth to heal after a cleaning. I was so scared of him that I skipped routine cleanings. Our coverage is through my husbandís employer. After my last treatment by Dr. Dread, I came home determined never to see that man again. My husband had signed us up for the cheapest plan; I found that there were very few dentists in its network, and none of them had stellar reviews on Yelp. There were complaints of upselling and shoddy work.

    I insisted that my husband get the options from HR, so we could change plans and get a better dentist. We had a six-month wait before we could change, so I took the time to thoroughly check the plans available, and the dentists in the networks. I used Yelp and the dentist council ratings.

    I now have a dentist whose practice is 8 minutesí walk from my house instead of 40 minutes away by streetcar, who explains everything to me, is gentle with my mouth, and always courteous. It costs us $28/month more, and is worth every cent. He and his partner are deeply committed to holistic health, as the mouth is not only an indicator of general health, but an active player.

    Reverting to dental x-rays: Iím 58 and have some bone loss in my lower jaw. I want x-rays so we can track this, and see whether my increased attention to oral health is stabilizing it. Not only does bone loss lead to tooth loss, there are risks of infection and abscessing, and very unbecoming changes in face shape. The tiny amount of radiation just is not a concern to me.

  9. #9
    Senior Member rosarugosa's Avatar
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    Thanks for the insight, Boss Mare.

  10. #10
    Senior Member SteveinMN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by catherine View Post
    I was reading The Better Brain and Perlmutter said that you shouldn't sleep with your cell phone closer than 3 feet from your head. You also shouldn't carry your phone around with you on your person for a long time during the day. And if you talk on the phone for more than a few minutes you should always use earbuds. Does anyone here have any thoughts or concerns about our chronic use of cell phones?
    My thought is that my cell-phone use is not chronic. DW and I live quite comfortably on 250 minutes of talk (generously rounded up each fraction of a minute we're off-hook) and several dozen texts a month for both of us. I do have my phone within arms' reach nearly all the time because it does a hundred other things for me besides place and receive phone calls. From that perspective, it enhances my life.

    Maybe our cell phones are killing us. Or maybe the cell phones are OK and it was the radioactive material in the hands of our glow-in-the-dark watch dials that was doing us in. Or maybe those exposures are minor compared to breathing soap fumes from our bedding for 7-8 hours every night. My point is that a lot of the science is bad science and many of those reporting it have something to gain from it. I'll look for a preponderance of evidence before I ditch something that's a "significant health risk" today and "oh, well, never mind" tomorrow.
    If Americans expended even a fraction of the energy on civic engagement that we spend on consumer ideology, our democracy would be much healthier. Can you imagine people camping out to vote? -- Charles Roberts, Amherst, Mass., Nov. 25, 2006

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