Dental Xrays–What Value Do You Place On Your Dental Health?

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The 1,433 study participants, aged 20-79, were asked to self-report how many dental xrays they thought they had.

Cost and time constraints restricted the researchers from validating all of the responses. Of the ones they did, it was found that the respondents actually over-reported how many xrays they had.

The respondents were not analyzed for genetic predisposition to meningiomas. Might that be a contributing factor?

The study author misquoted the ADA article concerning xrays in asymptomatic patients. Here is the direct quote from the Journal of the American Dental Association: “There is little evidence to support radiographic exposure of all dentulous areas of the oral cavity in search of occult pathoses in the asymptomatic patient.” Not, “The American Dental Association’s recent statement….confirms that there is little evidence to support the use of dental xrays to search for occult disease in asymptomatic patients…”

Anyways, we don’t. Bitewing xrays only capture back teeth–typically 16 of 28 (or maybe 32) teeth. We can only visually observe about 70% of a tooth and rely on the xray to see the other 30%.

Question: Would you rather be proactive or reactive about your dental health?

See the photos below. The patient was asymptomatic. Had an xray been taking a couple of years earlier, she would have spent about $200 on a small filling.

For whatever reason, it wasn’t. Now she’ll spend around $2,500 on a root canal, core buildup and crown to save her tooth. Would you rather spend $200 or $2,500?