I would like to know if xrays are necessary when going for a cleaning.I alternate between periodontal and dental cleaning every 3 months. I am not fond of xrays and feel if I did have issues I would agree. I get a good report card every visit.
Your thoughts please. My dentist has me sign a waiver and says it's law.
You are correct to have an aversion to x rays. The danger from x rays come from the fact that the dose of radiation that becomes dangerous is measured by the cumulative effect of radiation from all sources over your lifetime. Even though dental X rays dosage is not as high as cat scans for instance, each X Ray you have causes accumulation of those dosages over a lifetime, which is added to each medical X Ray, sun exposure and any o their source of ionizing radiation that you are exposed to. So your desire to have as few X rays as possible is smart and prudent.
I am including a link below which takes you to the American Dental Association guidelines on dental X rays. These guidelines came about as a response to dentists taking more radiographs than necessary . I will tell you about some of the guidelines for a patient like you.
First of all routine X rays should not be taken at some specific intervals just to look for potential problems unless there are clinical signs suggesting a problem. That's why the guidelines suggest taking the X rays only after the clinical examination shows a reason for an X Ray.
Secondly, frequency of X rays should be based on risk analysis of the individual patient. Of course low risk patients need less frequent X Ray examination.
Your description suggests that you are a low risk patient. I can't be certain of that without further information. The ADA guidelines suggest that you could have bite wings X rays examinatin of your back teeth only, as frequently as 24 to 36th month intervals. In my opinion that could very well too frequent. It's hard to control because X rays are a large part of many dental offices income. Any other non routine X rays should only be to investigate reasons for a problem that is found during examination only.
There are no state or federal laws that dictate frequency of dental X rays. Some states may require routine X rays for new patients or proof that a procedure is necessary. How often is your dentist taking routine X rays. If it sounds unreasonable, I may have more comments for you.
When it comes time for your next X Ray, ask the doc "is that really necessary. If the answer is yes, have him explain why. You maynowknow more about it than your dentist does.
Larry Burnett DDS