How many dental X-rays are too many?

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  1. Wally West

    I hadn’t really thought about this being an issue. I have been to the dentist plenty of times because I have really bad teeth. I have gotten a few dental x-rays, but I don’t think that it is enough to be bad for my health. I have needed the x-rays to see what was wrong with my teeth, so it is worth it.

  2. Rhys Rawson

    Thanks for the information on the safety and necessity of dental x-rays. I know dental x-rays can identify hidden dental decay, but I often worry about how safe they are. I fall under the category outlined by the ADA of “an adult with good oral health and low risk of dental problems” so I suppose an x-ray every 2 to 3 years shouldn’t be too bad. Great article!

  3. Name (required)

    8-9 micro sieverts per x ray compared to 3000-4000 a year naturally,, that is good info. thank you.

    • The Doctor without a degree

      You indicate that 8 to 9 micro Sieverts per x-ray compared to 3,000 or 4,000 per year naturally. Guess we don’t have too many intelligent people out here. Now lets divide the 3,000 Sieverts by 365 which represents per day and you get 8.219 Sieverts per day. Now my recent visit I had a total of 6 x-rays and 1 mouth x-ray…so lets add them all up. One complete mouth x-ray is about 24 Sieverts plus 8.5 to average it out per x-ray times 6 equals to 51 Sieverts. Now add 51 plus 24 and we get 75 Sieverts in just 1 day!!!!!

      When the article says that you get 3000 or 4000 Sieverts a year naturally….the key word is naturally…..which means during the course of the entire year. But when you get 75 Sieverts in a matter of seconds that can truly affect the oral tissue in your mouth…thus I do not find it comforting to say its ok to have 75 Sieverts in a matter of a couple of minutes while the rest of the time, you can get 3000 to 4000 in a matter of 365 days.

      its definitely a very big difference….

      • sciresearcher

        it’s important to note that 1 million micro-Sieverts is 1 Sievert. So please be careful with ur labels.

      • Kia Sent

        That much sieverts would melt you. You mean microsieverts.

      • Sylvia

        Glad I said no way to Dentist that wanted to give me 18 xrays in one sitting.
        Praise the Lord.

        • Humble Citizen

          Praise the Lord for your comment Sylvia I think we saw the same dentist. I was so upset I walked out of the office. Maybe he’ll figure out that he’s not listening to his patient’s concerns.

  4. Vuthy

    I have been taken x-Ray for many time. Because my suspect me to have lung disease. I’m so wary abo my health. And i want to ask you that what wil happen in the near future for my health? What should I do now ?

  5. Ed Maloney

    Why does a dentist always want to take his own x-ray even when another dentist just took one a few days prior which covers the exact same area? Don’t they know their is a cumulative cancer risk? Their techs always pooh-pooh the effect of the radiation by saying it is the same as being in the sun and then they go hide when they take the picture.I had 5 in one week and am concerned.

    • The Doctor without a degree

      The article indicate that 8 to 9 micro Sieverts per x-ray compared to 3,000 or 4,000 per year naturally. Guess we really need to be more concerned.. Now lets divide the 3,000 Sieverts by 365 which represents per day and you get 8.219 Sieverts per day. Now my recent visit I had a total of 6 x-rays and 1 mouth x-ray…so lets add them all up. One complete mouth x-ray is about 24 Sieverts plus 8.5 to average it out per x-ray times 6 equals to 51 Sieverts. Now add 51 plus 24 and we get 75 Sieverts in just 1 day!!!!!

      The majority of the doctors went to have more x-rays so that they can charge you more for their services. Although many will not admit to it.

      When the article says that you get 3000 or 4000 Sieverts a year naturally….the key word is naturally…..which means during the course of the entire year. But when you get 75 Sieverts in a matter of seconds that can truly affect the oral tissue in your mouth…thus I do not find it comforting to say its ok to have 75 Sieverts in a matter of a couple of minutes while the rest of the time, you can get 3000 to 4000 in a matter of 365 days.

      its definitely a very big difference….

    • Jackie

      Dentists start to over taking X-rays because is more convion for them
      They do not care patients health
      I got 8 for one day and want ne to go in a few days for more
      Endless….I am very worry too

  6. Ernest Jackson

    I found this information very informative. I am 83 healthy and tend not to accept without question dentist or doctors advice. I recently declined my dentists request for the x-ray. After reading your information I feel justified in my decision. Thanks

  7. Lewis

    How many x-rays is normal for one dental visit? I cannot find this anywhere on line with a google search. This week a new dental assistant took 20 x-rays of my teeth. I have not been having problems and it was at the very beginning of the session and I had not yet had my teeth cleaned. I was there for cleaning and didn’t know they were going to do x-rays. I find dental x-rays very uncomfortable and was not expecting to have them on this visit. I’d had them 6 months ago, but not 20. I think this is excessive. They told me that 20 is their standard in a set of x-rays.

    I was not concerned about the radiation at the time. I don’t like all the messing around inside my mouth for a diagnostic tool which does nothing for my dental hygiene.

    • Larry

      They did the same thing to me. I go for a simple teeth cleaning and get pressured into 18 Xrays, even though I have no problems with my teeth. The Xrays were ordered without the dentist even examining me. Seems like more of a business model for the dentist than interest in the patient. No wonder Dental patient retention sucks.

      • Terry

        That’s is exactly what happened to me, 18 X-rays in one visit. Then nothing was done. I was sent to another Dentist for more 2 more X-rays then sent to another Dentist for a panoramic X-ray. All I needed was two extractions. Know my lips crack and bleed.

      • ELOY

        YES I just went last week and ask first what kind the Xray have it the answer was the regular film teeth by teeth y just refuse to get those and ask for the panoramic X-rays but the answer was just a lie ( the dentist said to me the cavities does not clear with the panoramic X-rays ) witch means not true I just walked away and don’t exposed myself .

    • Isa

      I just had my first initial visit with a new dentist today. I have a new plan called delta dental. The tech. Took 18 X-rays in one sitting. She said according to this plan it was required. I have gone to other dentist all my life and never had this happen before. Isn’t this a dangerous practice? They also still put Mercury filings in stead of the safe white filings. Red flag..?. Anyone know what is going on?

        • GeraldS

          Really?? Eighteen seems excessive. I was angry with mine for doing 12. I find the attitude quite dismissive when I question it
          I am due a root canal and intend to absolutely refuse xrays so they can just refuse to do it, or take the tooth out. I don.t like the arrogance of some practitioners as if you are ignorant and they resent you asking.

      • Sylvia

        I got mercury poison from those silver fillings. They must not have your best interest.

    • Dina

      That sounds quite wrong, 20 is very excessive in any book. No matter what. I had about 8, the she repeated them because thought she had missed something. I was livid. The she took another one to send off to the hospital as I am being referred. Why can they not damned well email the films? In this day and age, they are sending hard copy of xrays – when they can do a digital and send without repeating the xray. I am really really angry and she was dismissive when I questioned it.

    • The Doctor without a degree

      If you multiply 9 Sieverts X 20….YOU GET 180 Sieverts in a matter of minutes during your office visit. Human cells exposed to radiation during the course of years and not minutes lessens the impact of cell damage but when you get 180 Sieverts per 1 visit, I really think that is very extreme. My recommendation is never to go back to that doctor and give him a bad review on the internet so that others do not go see him.

    • Katheleen

      If you had them 6 months ago (or even in the last 5 years) you should not have allowed them to do another set of x-rays. Remember, as the patient you have the right to either have your x-rays and take them where you want or have the x-rays emailed to your new dentist. The main reason dentists want to re-take them is they make money if they do that. When they are emailed they don’t make anything but you pay the price for the increase in radiation. Next time, get the x-rays sent over before you go and do not agree to more if you just had them. In six months it’s very unlikely a dentist would need a whole new set. If you were having trouble with just one tooth they could’ve just taken one x-ray of that tooth. We have to stand up to these dentists cause some can be real bullies.

  8. Babaesot

    They always have me taken x ray everytime i come in for cleaning or so. I once was told too much of it is bad. Now am more concerned I just had my root canal and had about 4-5 times x ray to check on the tooth they were working on in a matter of an hour. I will have to refuse future X ray.

    • Jackie

      They are not confident of what they’ve done and need to check all the time to be sure by Taking X-rays They do not care we are in big risk
      I’ve done 15 years ago implant with one single X-ray

  9. David J

    I recently arrived in Miami from Montreal. I cannot find a dental clinic here which will even agree to clean my teeth without taking a full set of xrays. “Sorry Sir, we could be liable for undiagnosed conditions”. A Dr does does order body xrays during an annual checkup. “See this grey spot that is a little more grey than the normal grey, well it may not hurt but it will cost you $3000 for us to make it better and by the way your previous dentist was a charlatan and all his work will need to be redone”. I have had enough of this profession!

    • bex

      I had the same experience. They wouldn’t clean my teeth without x rays first, without even looking in my mouth! Are dentists in Canada better?

  10. Gerry

    I have been receiving regular X-rays recently in connection with a root canal procedure I am undergoing. More on Thursday. After the dentist lines up the machine he slaps this heavy shield on my chest then he and his assistant run for the door. I feel like I should be running with them!

    last year after receiving a similar number of dental X-rays I developed a couple of skin cancers on the same side of my face that had to be removed. Just a coincidence presumably?

    I await to see what happens this time.

    • georgeen comerford

      I’ve been thinking the same thing! I’ve developed skin cancer in the exact spot on my cheek where assorted dentists have been directly placing the xray machine extension on my skin (I don’t know the exact term for the device) for bite-wing xrays. Over the years (I’m a senior citizen) starting from the 1950’s,which I’m sure had equipment that produced higher levels of radiation than now, (plus all those times the dentist would do an”extra exposure”- just to make sure he “got it”) have been accumulative. I’m really angry at being told how LOW the radiation is. Really?

      • GeraldS

        not sure if there is any consolation, but skin cancer in all I have read, seems not related to xrays
        but I guess there is no complete proof. I have read that Brain tumour is more likely and also jaw tumours. Not skin cancers. I am dreadin g it, because I let my dentist do far too many and I have anxiety anyway.

        • Bill J

          Brain tumours, breast cancer and thyroid cancer have been linked in some studies to dental xrays.

          I wouldn’t rule out skin cancers, its likely it hasn’t been researched.

  11. Eileen

    I had a lot of x-rays as a child because I had to get braces. I have developed hypothyroidism and I’m wondering since they never put a neck guard on me, if the excessive x-rays may be part of what caused the condition. I recently went to a new chiropractor and the number of x-rays he ordered was ridiculous. I’m angry with myself for submitting to so many. In the end I stopped seeing him for other reasons as well. I agree with a previous person that posted earlier, in that dental and medical professionals are seeing diagnostics as another revenue stream to their businesses. It’s so disheartening. I’m at odds with my current allopathic doctor (I can’t afford a Naturopath) re: mammograms. I refuse. I got a thermogram instead but it cost me $600.00 out of pocket! Healthcare in my province will only pay for allopathic diagnostics so if a person wants homeopathic/natuorpathic they have to pay themselves. The homeopath I went to wants me to have it done every 9 months! It seems everything is about money these days. It’s very discouraging.

    • Bill J

      I had braces as a child without xrays. Chiropracters should not be useing xrays, period. Its all about money.

      Getting 12 or 18 xrays in a day is apalling.

    • Pam Kating

      You should read some of the books and/or studies about the truth about breast cancer and diagnostic tests related to it. The reality is there are very few cases of breast cancer that are serious and could be fatal but there are a LOT of cases of unnecessary & expensive tests, painful biopsies, and physical stress related to benign cysts that would never amount to anything. They have now determined that the stress of going through that kind of stuff is much more damaging than just leaving things alone and being tested less often. Remember, stress is a big contributor to many health conditions, including cancer. My gyno was honest enough to tell me that at my age (50) breast testing only needs to be done every 4-5 years. EVEN IF YOU DIDN’T HAVE TO PAY $600 OUT OF POCKET, I WOULD NEVER ALLOW ANYONE TO TEST ME EVERY 9 MONTHS. THAT IS SO UNNECESSARY. Now, if you have a family history of breast cancer maybe every 2-3 years but 9 months is ridiculous. Good luck.

  12. Karen

    I had to have a veneer replaced that broke 3 years after I had a done. Since the dentist that made the veneer said it had been 3 years since i had been to his office, the state of MA requires a full mouth xray before he could treat me. He took 20 Xrays of my mouth. Is this normal??

    I am very worried about the amount of radiation exposure.


  13. Logan

    I had a set of braces when I was 14 years old. Then jaw surgery as a young adult. This required another set of braces. Altogether I had numerous X-rays taken for all these procedures. I did not count. After being X-rayed regularly for dental checkups and teeth cleanings, I have within the last 10 years refused X-rays. My teeth are in good health. I have One filing from a spot under one of the caps for the braces. Some dentists require a waiver to be signed to refuse X-rays. This is fine with me to avoid any more radiation.

  14. condor9

    Indeed, I was also given the 18 x-ray treatment two weeks ago. The most I had taken any other time was 8 and only because the dentist knew exactly the issue he was looking for. This time I was simply sat down and told 18 x-rays BEFORE the dentist would even see me.

  15. T Cummings

    I just went to a new dentist for a cleaning. I refused to be x-rayed. They refused to treat me and told me it was against the law for them to treat me without taking the required x-rays first. I told them I wasn’t having any major problems and wanted the dentist to examine me and assess the need for x-rays. They said that seeing me without x-rays is called neglective care and is against the law. Thanks ADA. Keep in mind that this is the same organization that says mercury amalgams are safe.

  16. Dustin Ginsberg

    I let my current dentist take a full set of x-rays when I first saw him about five years ago. I refused a full set thereafter, although there have been numerous x-rays of individual areas for procedures by him and specialists for oral surgery, periodontal work, and a root canal, as well as crown fittings. After the second year when I refused a regular full set of x-rays at a cleaning, the dentist had me sign a waiver of liability–something I never encountered before. Now he wants to take another full set, after five years, which may seem reasonable, but there have been already been numerous x-rays for these other procedures. In his mind this is catching things early and preventing more drastic procedures. This is assuming he is honest, which I believe he is, although I have had another dentist, who although he did work good work, identified something as a cavity that wasn’t; I didn’t have it done and it was confirmed by my next dentist to not be a cavity, who didn’t call him dishonest, just, euphemistically, “aggressive”. Who knows how much other work by that dentist was unnecessary. I also had an oral surgeon, referred by my current dentist, who removed an old root canal tooth and then talked me into getting a bone graft as the only chance for an implant if I wanted one later–this cost 50% more than the extraction, and it turned out he knew new before he did it that it wouldn’t do anything to allow me to have an implant, which he basically admitted afterward. Getting back to my current dentist, after replacing a filling that came out, (not his work) and repairing some bonding on my front tooth, he scheduled me for a cleaning and a full set of x-rays, and said he wouldn’t be able to have me as a patient if I didn’t have them. I asked him about the waiver he had me sign before, and he said those are basically worthless. And he doesn’t even use digital x-rays. I’m going to ask if he at least uses fast film. While saying that CT scans are overused and can cause cancer, he pooh-poohs any danger from dental x-rays, comparing it to an airplane trip or a few days in the sun. Even the official sites do this, which gives me no confidence in the profession because the same dose of radiation you might get over your whole body in an airplane trip, or over a few days in the sun, is not the same to the tissues as that same dose directed at a small area in a split second. To make this comparison is insulting to patients.

    • bex

      Thank you for making this point about the radiation being directly targeted at mouth versus general sun or airplane exposure. This seems like an intelligent observation! Are we not supposed to protect our bodies and health from dangers? Why do patients get insulted for standing up for their health and asking questions? Is their a conspiracy to poison us so some people can make alot of money?

  17. Dustin Ginsberg

    Where is my extensive comment, which I submitted yesterday or the day before?

  18. Dustin Ginsberg

    (I am this comment somewhat rewritten, which didn’t successfully post the other day.)

    I have had a dentist in the past who did good work but wanted to fill a small cavity, which I did not have done, and I confirmed with a new dentist a year later that it wasn’t a cavity. When I asked the new dentist if the previous dentist was dishonest, he said, euphemistically, he would say he was “aggressive”. More recently, a few years ago I was referred to an oral surgeon to extract an old root canal at the back of my upper jaw, and afterward he talked me into getting a bone graft as the only possible way to have an implant if I wanted one later, as there needed to be more distance to the nasal cavity. This procedure was 50% more expensive than the extraction, exposed me to foreign materials and panoramic set of x-rays after six months, not to mention monthly visits to check the healing for six months. After he reviewed the panoramic x-rays, at the end of this period, he said the space had not increased, and I wouldn’t be able to have an implant unless I had a more drastic procedure called a palate lift, which he didn’t recommend. I asked him does the bone graft ever increase the vertical distance, and he said no, only the width. I said, that he knew that before he did the procedure, and he didn’t reply, basically admitting he scammed me. When I related this story to a periodontist, and I said that oral surgeon was unethical, he laughingly said he was following a business model.

    Regarding x-rays, I routinely refuse regular x-rays except the first set. With my current dentist I had a full set done when I first saw him five years ago. After refusing after one year to have another set, the second year he had to sign waiver of liability–no dentist had never done that before. Now he wants me to have another full set and says he won’t be able to see me as a patient unless I do (and wants to do another full set every year hereafter, which is even more problematic). A second set after five years seems reasonable, although I’ve had numerous X-rays for specific procedures in that timeframe. I asked him about signing a waiver again and he said those are worthless. Also he uses film, not digital x-rays. I’m going to ask him if he uses the standard D speed or the faster F speed film, which may be more equivalent to digital X-ray levels. One thing that irks me is that he, as does the dental establishment, while admitting the dangers of CAT scans, pooh-poohs the dangers of dental x-rays, using the standard retort that it is equivalent to an airplane flight or a few days background radiation. This diminishes the credibility of the dental Industry, as a certain amount of radiation received over your whole body over hours or days is not the same to the tissues as that same amount of radiation focused on one spot and delivered in a split second. This comparison is just insulting to the patient and the public at large.

    • Bob Smith

      Dustin see my comment i just posted. I never got headaches before either. Now i get headaches. Im 39 yrs old, why this year my body is suddenly going through all these “changes” and new issues after they fried my head that day a year ago? I think i need to request an mri from my pcp. See my comment for my story.

  19. Geraldine Smith

    I recently had several xrays taken by my dentist. She repeated the first lot, thinking something may not have shown up
    I also had one done by the emergency I dentist when I had a nerve removed
    I did say how worried I was but she was quite dismissive, and just said ‘oh, you get the same amount in a flight to Spain of radiation, forget about it…’ this did nothing to reassure me, as I hardly ever fly to Spain, so it is little consolation.

  20. Lois

    I have had 29 dental x-rays since August 2015 and it is now August 2016. I’m worried about it but the dentist and oral surgeon say they are necessary. Frankly, I’m scared.

  21. Candy

    It is too late to say no. I already had 20 or so x rays in past 20 years. I didn’t have any the following 10 years. I am ok now. But cancer can come any time years later. I guest you can’t help.

  22. Bob Smith

    My dentist gave me 25 xrays in a row at my appointment a year ago before pulling a tooth, then about 5 more after i got dry socket the next week. I have not felt the same for the past year. I have ringing in my ears, i pour sweat constantly, terrible sleep patterns, my skin gets so oily i have to wipe it down every hour now!

    My primary care ph, just ran blood tests for me and all results came back normal and he gave me a high five. Can brain tumors hide from blood tests? Surely he would have said something if there was a sign in the results?

    My dentist assistant recently told me to take more xrays for more fillings and procedures and i declined cause of my worries, i mean 400 units of radiation in 2 weeks was absurd to me. Excessive. She got noticeably irritated and started trying to argue with me, i immediately stopped the convo by saying: “hey, you guys took like 30 xrays of my skull and brain and face last year. Use those. Cause you’re not getting any more.”

  23. Miriam

    I just had two Root canals completed, then on same day back to my Dentist for temp crowns.
    Why couldnt my dentist have xrays sent over from root canal specialist? In stead he took another set of same xray already done by specialist! Three xrays on one day because specialist took xray before procedure as well ?I think this is totally uncalled for, and puts a pt at more risk.
    We just are so trusting of our Dr, Dentist, but enough is enough!!!!! Its digital, can it not be sent over to other office?

  24. Dean

    Today I got 35 X-rays all over my mouth, I feel not good. When I tried to refused my dentist said that by California state law we have to take full set of X-rays or I can go somewhere else. I said I was at my other dentist six month ago and my teeth are healthy. He said he can’t believe for other dentists, I said I only need cleaning he said X-rays it is like you live in the mountain for couple days. What a crook, what kind of state law is this???

  25. John

    What adds to my own concern is the dentist taking a group of x-rays of my teeth and then referring me to a specialist who invariably wants to take a whole new set of more dental xrays. Can’t these professionals share copies of paper or digital xrays , and spare me from the added radiation exposure?

  26. Maxwell Smart

    “Overall, the amount of radiation you get from dental X-rays is relatively small – especially when compared with the radiation you receive from natural background sources.” This is sloppy thinking. 3000 micro-Sieverts (uSv) per year background radiation translates to ~8.2 uSv per day. One dental x-ray basically gives you all of your daily background radiation exposure in a one second energy pulse. And who receives one X-ray. Usually it’s 3 or 4. So four days worth of background radiation energy put into your mouth tissues in 4 one second pulses. I personally would be very concerned.

  27. Joe

    The dental hygienist at my dentists office tells me I have to get full bite wing xrays every 12 months. The office I go to pushes sales tactics akin to a chiropractic office. I confronted her on this and she told me that she could lose her hygienist license if she did not take x-rays yearly or at the very least she could push it out 18 months. A simple google search will show the “recommendations” by the ADA for x-rays and NC State Board has no law stating such. (I work in the NC Court system). I will chat with the dentist next time I go in for a cleaning and ask him about this before I file complaint with our state’s dental board and the attorney general’s office. This is nothing more than milking the unknowing consumer.

    • Guest

      Lol state dental board/attorney general…. good luck. You think those crooks go against their peers?

  28. Luke Aspian

    I have two dental plans. If I didn’t, I doubt very much if my new dentist would order so many x-rays and replacement fillings and new crowns because of a “possible” cavity. I refused the last set of x-rays and that’s when he had me sign a waiver then decide the x-rays from a year ago showed the “possible” cavity. Why didn’t I hear about this “possible” cavity a year ago from my old dentist?

  29. Matthew wolfe

    I’ve just come back from a private dentist today they did an X-ray and said not to worry….. Before this I contacted my previous nhs dentist that took exrays prior to this, and asked if they could email over the xray proff they took,.. They said it wasn’t possible???
    I really didn’t want another xray all in the last 4 weeks

  30. Deanna j

    I spoke to my dermatologist about how I suspected dental x-rays contributing to me getting skin cancers. She said it is radiation and it is all cumulative. I seem to get more lesions showing up after dental x-rays and am frustrated that the hygienists/dentist don’t see the seriousness of my concern

  31. Conrad

    Dec.20 2016

    At recent dental appt.informed dentist I was experiencing tooth pain when chewing on my left lower side.Took a bite wing x-ray which revealed a root abscess,recommending that the tooth be removed.This was the forth x-ray in less than a year.I refused take more anti-biotic that had been prescribed less than a year earlier when she removed another tooth.
    The latest x-ray left my throat sore,itchy,raspy and dry for the following week.Since refusing digestive floral damaging biotics and tooth removal i’ve had less tooth pain and can comfortably chew on my left side again. I do not have a dental plan and feel this dentist uses me as her personal ATM to make up for billing restrictions imposed by dental plans.Want a new dentist but they’re all alike in a professional Cabell protecting each others misconduct is good for all of them

  32. Lois Halbert

    My concern is 32 xrays over 18 months due to cracked teeth, several implants, replacement of several crowns at various intervals and regular checkups. Both dentist and oral surgeon say not to worry but I do. All this started in 1962 when I got hit head on and lost all my teeth. So, you can see overtime, I have had a lot of xrays. So many over the last 18 months really has me worried. Any suggestions?

  33. bob S

    This is a major SCAM going on here. I have had the same dentist for the last 25 years and he NEVER forced me to have xrays done unless I requested them. No waivers of any kind. There are not any laws saying you MUST have them. If they insist, get up and leave the office immediately and call or email consumer affairs or the Dept of Proff Regulations in your state!!!

  34. Jody Torres

    5 xrays to my head in a month sounds extremely excessive to me.

  35. rhea yvonnie Figueroa

    Thank u for information,and i want to understand How about if u can used the xray for every patients is 8 to 10 time,for example u have20 patients and 10patients u can do xray,this situation can be affected to ur health, specially I am a girl.because I hear for the other the radiation cause of cancel or u r never to pregnant.please answer please very important

  36. sarah

    It is WONDERFUL to finally be around intelligent, responsible people in this country. I am from AUSTRALIA. Please know you are all absolutely right to be dubious and suspicious. I have been to a few dentist in this country and each and everyone does xrays before they even see you. The last time I saw a dentist in Australia and every time beofre that, they ALWAYS see you first and examine you before ANY sort of x rays take place. VERY rarely did I get any, only when a teen and I need teeth removed and braces etc. Rest assured it is all a racket. Dig in, fight and refuse the shakedown as that is all it is. Disgraceful. Get a water pik and do your own maintenance at home as best you can and never go unless you truly feel it is necessary. Same with medical. Shame on the so called medical professionals in this country. I thank God I am moving back soon. I feel for you all. Oh, and they wanted to do a “gingivitis therapy” treatment on me aka deep cleaning and yes, my gums are a bit in need of some TLC agreed BUT they refused to do a regular cleaning first. Sure she had a great personality, I work in SALES I know the drill. As friendly as can be so they can line their pockets.

  37. Barb

    I’m going in for my yearly dental cleaning next week. And yes, they always take x-rays before examining my mouth!!! I will not let them do that this time. I always feel so uncomfortable when they put the lead apron and neck collar on…and then take off behind lead windows! No more.
    And then there’s the whole issue about using radiation to TREAT cancer! If we’re so concerned about it causing cancer, WHY DO WE LET THE ONCOLOGISTS USE IT TO TREAT CANCER? No way, I’m going with natural, alternative treatments.

  38. Lesley

    I just had 18 pictures done on my teeth at one time. I think this is excessive. I am a first patient here at Lakeland dental in parsippany, NJ, and they should have informed me up front of: 1) of the sheer amount of images and 2) the cost. This would be to explain the reasoning behind so many x rays. Right now, I am unsure if the way they run their practice.

  39. Carl Wagner

    My dentist told me that the radiation from a dental x ray is “like a walk in the sun”. I’m 76 years old and have had so many walks in the sun that I have squamous-cell carcinoma on my forehead.

    I have gone to the dentist regularly since childhood, first at my mother’s insistence, then out of habit. I have had hundreds of dental x rays. Am I nearing the threshold for cancer? Nobody knows. The dentist knows only that x rays are part of his business model, which makes them sacred — even more sacred than his patient’s long term health.

    From now on, no more routine dentist visits for me. I’ll only go when a tooth aches or falls out.

    • Margaret

      How come you want our comment but you don’t reply to our questions raised?

  40. Margaret

    On April 11, 2017, while my Dentist was doing root canal treatment, she took 3 X’rays on my upper right tooth. Each time the X’ray was taken, she told me that my root was long and has not reached the tip yet. I asked her whether it was harmful to have 3 X’rays in one sitting and she said “No, because it is a digital X’ray and the harm is just like using a mobile phone.” However this morning , April 14, I found a blue black patch, about the size of an Australian 50 cents coin on right cheek. Is this the effect of the X’ray?
    I had Dental X’ray taken before, even last year and the years before.

    • Bill J

      “No, because it is a digital X’ray and the harm is just like using a mobile phone.”

      Complete lie. Mobile phones don’t produce ionizing radiation.

      Also notice the Freudian slip, there is an admission it does harm.

    • Michael

      Like a mobile phone, but they had you put on a lead apron I bet.

  41. jazmin

    what about throat cancer do I need a consent from my doctor to take x-rays from my dentist

  42. Law Les

    My dentist office insists on x-rays every 12 months in order to just get a cleaning. The reason given is malpractice and they will not budge from this policy. Is this a valid reason? I’ve rejected that reason and am currently looking for a new dentist.

  43. Auden

    Without going into detail i had a dentist from hell in the baltic states who knowing of my phobos of x rays refused me any protection and was really angry with me for salong. She also went to the radiologist and i was subjected to around 8 bite wing xrays within a couple of minutes Previously in the last couple of months she had given me about 6 dental xrays
    This all happened 4 years ago. I am too scared to see another dentist
    I am also very fearfull that i may have cancer in the future because of her treatment. Can someone who knows please tell me the likely out come of all this?

    • Elder Fleming

      Auden, I sympathize with you. I fear the Xrays and the chance of cancer; the poor customer service; and their lack of concern for the patient’s safety. This is how I’ve survived without a dentist for over 13 years. Purchase a respectable dental rinse and use before flossing. Floss at least 3x a week. Brush in morning and before bed. After flossing, rinse gums with warm water & salt. Do NOT eat after bedtime brushing. And, severely limited hard candy, taffee, and gum. Good luck!

  44. Elder Rondy G Fleming

    I waited in their ‘dental’ chair for a while. The bite wings given to me were extremely hard and ill-fitting. More than 10 Xrays were taken (I fear the damage they may cause). Customer service sucked. They said my blood pressure was high (well, I was nervous and do NOT like needles filled with nova-cane). I got up. I checked out. I called the next day and cancelled the rest of procedure. After 12 years of building up courage to go there, it will be hard to go to a dentist again.

  45. Grace Doel

    I had x-rays taken by two different dentists two weeks apart at the end of July & 1st part of Aug. Was that dangerous? Could it have caused a mass in the roof of my mouth just behind the front teeth? I’m about to have surgery Wed. to remove it and biopsy.

  46. Lynn

    I find saying no is not received well whatsoever. I assume they push x-rays so they receive a larger amount from the insurance company. Otherwise a cleaning fee isn’t much!

  47. Nancy bainbridge

    I’ve had lots of treatment and at least 30 exrays over a one year period have a spot on each side of my face dentist said no harm from them going soon to dermatologist to see if skin cancer

  48. Ragnar

    Whenever I had gotten x-rays in the past it was at most a handful (5) This last visit they gave me 20 and when I questioned them all about it afterwards they said “We’ve always done it like that” I hate it when they lie. When I pressed them on it they said they were digital and a much lower dose. They refuse to work on you without x-rays once a year. As they are a clinic, which I use because I have little money, my options are few. Does anyone know of a legal resource to hammer these people? If I develop cancer as a result I should be able to go after them for attempted murder. When they put that lead apron on isn’t it supposed to go all the way up to my neck? They just threw it on slapdash and it was well down from my neck.

  49. Mary ducre

    I went to 4 different dentist within 6mo every one took X-ray more than one now I have this lump of very painful spot on my gum were the X-ray were taken I show the last two dentist 1st one said it was a sis next one I ask if she would give me a abiotic she said no if don’t heal go back to the dentist who did the root canal. Do you think the many X-ray could have done this.

  50. Shelby good

    Thank you for the backup – I fight this X-ray thing every visit – all predicting possible disasters if I don’t have them – I’m tired and not wanting the battle so visits are being put off.

    • Kurt

      Just yesterday, I visited the practice (Highland, NY) of my now retired dentist of many years. He was an older gentleman who went along with me refusing x-rays, just watching the fillings and asking me if anything in my health had changed.
      Long time ago I had read somewhere that X-rays every 10 years was kind of okay. What I could see in my cumulative x-rays over 20 years was that nothing changed. So, without major dental or health issues and no tooth ache, I figured again, no need for X rays.
      The lady who first cleans my teeth always asks for x-rays and I always refuse. They ask at EVERY visit = 6 months, clearly a money maker.
      Again like many here report, they wanted to take x-rays BEFORE the doctor even checks.
      Since there is a new dentist now , I had to sign twice that I refuse. Once it was mentioned that the doctor will not be responsible if I refuse, the other form was worded as if I just signed my death sentence. Scare tactics!
      After cleaning the new dentist who took over checked my teeth for HIS first time (BTW: gentle dentistry was lost on him. He might as well have been a car mechanic or treated horses before )
      He told me I had all old fillings (I would know. I am 65 and had them all for a while, some for over 30 years) and they should all be observed.
      My last X rays were from 2015, when I last gave in after 8 years or so, and he said : I need to see at least 4 bite wings next visit. It has then been 3 years for updated X-rays.
      After I said, that I had no problems and doubt that with all the fillings anything can be seen (I know now after researching that I may be wrong with that, but am willing to take that chance) he got very upset and told a secretary to give me my X-rays and look for another doctor, basically throwing me out.
      No explanation or trying to explain why they are necessary at my age.
      They then printed out a copy of my last x-rays in b/w on a piece of paper, i.e. did not even give me the actual X-ray films.
      At that point I had already decided anyway to just leave and look someplace else.
      I think it will be extremely hard to find a dentist who is not in on this money making scheme, which includes the ADA, recommending x rays every 3 years.
      They all lie about the strength of radiation. Then they have “assistants” taking your x-rays and they tell you that they have to take more , because something didn’t come out right.
      I does make sense to catch things early, if that is possible, but for advanced age patient over 60 I don’t see the necessity.
      Again: ALL ABOUT MONEY!!!

  51. Cathy Mauro

    It is a cop out to believe a patient can advocate on behalf of themselves. There are people in Canada who obey any one in a medical or dental doctor labcoat. They are sheep perhaps and thus deserve to be weeded out of the gene pool?? What if we BELIEVE? I did and it was discovered I may have a superior saggital sinus menginoma on the left side.A few days ago. I had a lot of xrays done last year partly due to my fear of finding a dentist who could help me with an upper baby molar. Each dentist insisted it was DIGITAL and SAFE. Before you dismiss me I have a CT Scan done a few years ago and NO SUCH CREATURE LIVED IN MY SKULL. I had maybe 3 done in about a 2 month period while I fretted over pulling a tooth or getting a root canal. You are dammed if you do….Dammed if you don’t.

  52. Cathy Mauro

    Further to my post is this link. Somehow after being told it is all in my head, I now believe it. I beseach every one especially females to buy a water pick. Gargle with salt and get all exrays emailed to your self downloading them on your phone for any appointment. They will all insist and if you cross your arms and look sternly at them sideways they might think you are paranoid …the new word for hysterical….but who cares because:

  53. You never answered the question how many x-rays is too many. How many x-rays should I have put annually you just gave me for pages full of bull crap very safe answer this

    You never answered the question how many x-rays is too many. How many x-rays should I have put annually you just gave me for pages full of bull crap very safe answer this article was no help at all to me

  54. george

    Due to absesses and infections of my gums and unsatisfactory and failed root canal proceedure I have had so many xrays taken.
    Getting second opinions has also increase the number of xrays.
    20 in a year might be under estimated.
    I should have pulled out the teeth. I have also lost confidence in the proffesion.
    I didnt think about the effects of radiation

  55. Sylvia

    I went to a dentist in El Centro California. 18 I repeat they wanted to give me 18 dental XRays in one sitting. I said no way!! and walked out. How many are they legally able to give you in one sitting?

  56. Stephanie

    I am 50 years old and have a set of almost perfect teeth. Every dentist I have ever been to has commented on the great condition of my teeth. I have had 1 cavity. Which I am not so sure was actually a cavity. I was suspicious that this dentist was looking to make more money off my insurance than just the standard exam and cleaning. Anyway, I have noticed over the last several years the dentists (2 different offices) have been giving me more and more xrays. I have some kind of xray at every visit now. At one time I would only have xrays every couple of years. The condition of my teeth has not changed. They continue to comment on how well I take care of my teeth and how they are so healthy. So other than the fact they want to bill my insurance, I see no reason for the xrays. Which I cannot understand why the insurance continues to pay for all these xrays. I also am hypothyroid. My thyroid started dying on me 15 years ago. I don’t remember the hygenist ever putting the protective flap that goes over the throat to protect the thyroid from radiation on me along with the chest protection.

  57. Mary Bourdon

    Today I had my once per 9 month teeth cleaning. My dentist is fairly new to me and I have seen him 3 times. From my 1st visit I told him I did not want any xrays undr normal circumstances. He had always agreed. I am a senior and require bridgework which he does not perform so I am seeing another dentist at a local dental school where the procedures are performed at a huge discount. I told the dentist I saw today that I was seeing the school for that work. He seemed ok about that although he had told me to have him recommend a dentist he could suggest. He knows it will cost less than 50 percent at the dental school.After my visual exam today he said that he would do xrays. I questioned this and asked why and he simply replied he “needs them for my records”. I informed him I had panoramic xray done this month at the dental school and they had to repeat them (which kind of worried me ). He said he really would need to take them as they were different …not the same….for individual teeth.I felt forced but finally agreed. I would appreciate any feedback you have on this.

  58. G

    I had at least 12 X-rays in one visit ,
    Because they were not able to get the right shot , should I be concern ?

  59. Mario Voce

    There is no mention of any medical X rays that are in addition to the dental X rays. It adds up. Then there’s nuclear power and weapons production sources that keep adding to the background radiation increases. It adds up too. Get the picture? I find cavalier attitudes when it comes to radiation issues. We can now rename the Pacific Ocean the Fukashima Sea.

  60. Dino Carlucci

    There is no such thing as a safe side of radiation ALL levels are cumulative and hazardous. There is no threshold.

  61. Burice Dennard

    I got three dental xrays yesterday and am wondering if that was too much radiation at one time….I am elderly and after thinking about it, got really concerned.

  62. scott slatter

    the dentists in my area require full mouth xrays every year before any inspection.
    they will not carry out hygene work unless you submit to xrays
    reason given is that it is reqd by their insurers
    I suspect it is the loss of $200

  63. Ettigirb

    I am at the point where I have a hard time to trust dentists. After taking x-rays my kids were diagnosed with at least three cavities each some years ago. Second opinions confirmed that none of the kids had any cavities. They are approaching adult hood in the meantime with no cavities at all.
    So why all these x-rays if dentists misinterpret some spots and shades? Just today I walked out of an office after the dentist wouldn’t do sealants because I refused to let them take 24 x-rays. I was trying to follow the reasoning but unfortunately I couldn’t understand the professional terms and explanations.
    Now I am looking for an established dentist who doesn’t have to pay off big investments in his clinic.

    • Wolfgang Hendrix

      Let us know when you find one. I’m interested in finding a cadre of dentists that can serve others instead of themselves.

  64. Sheri Andrews

    I was given at least ten X-rays in one sitting. I was too intimidated to challenge this new dentist. I think she was just learning and used me as a guinea pig. I am scared.

  65. alan zeidman

    my hygienist has taken xrays the last two times I have been in, six months apart. Not full mouth xrays. This has me nervous about over exposure to radiation.

  66. Dan

    While this article was insightful it was not helpful. You bypassed the concern of what is over exposure. In the last four months I have had 12 xrays on one tooth. 9 in one sitting. Is that too much?

    • Wolfgang Hendrix

      I think 12 is the breaking point. I had 12 recently and got sick right after, and am trying to recover.

  67. Wilma McGlew

    I was told by a dental office that dental X-rays are required by law. Is this true? I have had way to many c-scans in my life and try to avoid all the radiation I can. Help!

  68. Wolfgang Hendrix

    In the end this doesn’t even give a ball park estimate, or range. Waste of time. This was just another article trying to avoid the headlining question.
    Why am I upset? Because the dentist took approximately 12 x-rays or so yesterday, and today I am sick with flu like symptoms.
    How about I answer it for you? Let’s go with 6 x-rays is too much!

  69. Apolinario.mabuni

    I am a technical sales engineer for panoramic/cephalometric xrays anf other dental products. For about a month in the job ive been exposed for about 10times in a period of 1 month. As part of our job especially after installation and troubleshooting to test and check the image. I am really bothered to the point of quitting the job primarily due to health risk i could get out of it.

  70. Nancy Dennett

    My dentist insists that I have full mouth X-rays every two years. I’m 88, my mouth is stable, no gum disease. I’ve had a lot of X-rays over time and am not comfortable with that frequency. I get rave reviews from the dental assistant when cleaning my teeth. I think that the profit from X-rays influence some dentists. Could I insist on every 3 or 4 years? My dentists says they are liable and must have them.

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