How many dental X-rays are too many?

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  • Kevin J gunning junior says:

    How many x-rays can a dentist do on a patient at a time I had 18 done at doctor wall’s office I was wondering if that was more than enough or it should be les

  • Mimi says:

    Yesterday I had a endo dental appt for a back molar. Doctor took around 20+ bitewise X-rays of my molar during treatment. I’m very concerned of the radiation I received yesterday! Should I be? Please advise. Thank you!

  • Em says:

    Every single time I go to the dentist, they want to do a full mouth panoramic X-rays. I was having difficulties with a tooth with a botched root canal, so I was going anywhere from 2-6 times a month for a year. Often times, they’d have to retake the X-rays. This is in addition for the 6 CT scans they did at the endodontics office for the before and after root canal as well as in between (root canal took 3 visits over the course of 7 weeks). When I asked for my records, I was sent over 250 X-rays and those were the “clear” images, not the ones they deleted. I switched dentists because after a year and nearly $10,000 spent on what they were recommending, I realized not a single one of my concerns was addressed! I went to a few other dentists who were also trying to say I needed $10,000-28,000 needed work done! I’m 33 and my teeth needed some fillings replaced. I was cash paying and paid in full every time so I think they were trying to milk me. After the one dentist filled 3 teeth when I only provided consent for 1 filling, I stopped going to her entirely. Those other 2 teeth had what looked like stains on the camera she used. A couple of other dentists agreed that they were just mild stains as everyone has them in between cleanings and at my age. She drilled 2 perfectly fine teeth and did that! On top of that, she botched the fillings so they were causing extreme pain and I had another dentist fix them. She charged me for full mouth X-rays to try to resolve the problem. The new dentist found the problem very fast: she had bonded 4 of my teeth together with those 3 fillings she did so I couldn’t even pass floss through them. She also prepared one for a crown, according to her notes with the intent of putting a crown on it within 6 months and to do a buildup of a crown in 3 months for another. My teeth didn’t need crowns, at least according to the X-rays and images that she took the week before (the new dentist said).

  • William gyorkos says:

    Had a new tech that was struggling to get a good shot of my cavity. Had 14 trys before i insisted on another tech. Should i be concerned?

  • R. Kulbach says:

    Very informative. Gave me good facts to use when approaching my dentist. Thank you so much.

  • steve says:

    the idiot i last saw couldnt get a good xray and hit me about 12 times on the same side.. at least i think it was 12. i lost count because there were so many. oops… try again. oops.. it moved.. oops out of focus.. oops… that was about 3 years ago. i hope this wont give me jaw cancer. how could i prove how many times the stupid tech botched it? bad enough to get charged for the top of the line crown when i told them i was broke and could only afford the basic one… bad enough the made me wait nearly a month with a cheap temp.. and then didnt fill the hole before putting the crown over it. ‘oh we dont do filling s for crowns anymore. the crown covers the hole!’.

    • Patricia M. Nicholls says:

      When a dental panoramic xray is performed should the patient be protected with a lead apron and neck collar.?
      Or are up to date xray machines so low in radiation they are not needed.

  • Le says:

    I have brain aneurysm in the past 5 years, i haven’t gone to a dentist since that time, X-rays from the dentist is my big concern. But now I came up with many problems of my teeth now, I had few X-ray at the dentist, I m worrying that I m exposed from the radiation.
    But I think dentist will take more X-rays after he is done. What should I do now, Can someone help me to answer my question, I m very appreciate for your help and thank you

  • Donna J McKinney'Medola says:

    Should I be concerned that the dental assistant did 10 to 20 exrays on me in one day with a hand held x-ray gun without a protective shield on me?

  • Glen says:

    I just got 7 x-rays on my tooth because they couldn’t get a good picture is that a problem

  • Mary Pfleiger says:

    My 17 year old went for a cleaning yesterday. An intern was being taught to give xray. My daughter texted me in the middle of her appointment to tell me that “she keeps x raying the same spot” She said “ive been in here for over 45 minutes and they have done over 35 xrays. she said “i counted 35 AFTER they had already done a whole bunch”. The girl kept letting other interns “practice” on my daughter! What should i say or do about this? i have my daughters text. She had to reschedule her appointment for today to actually have the cleaning done. My husband went with her but was in the waiting room. He was not asked if an intern could practice on her.

  • Kim C says:

    I went to my dentist last year and they were having trouble getting a good x-ray of my back bottom molar so they continued to reposition and shoot, reposition and shoot, etc, for well over 10 times. I finally had enough and asked them to stop….I was feeling very uncomfortable with so many x-rays. They assured me it was fine but I wouldn’t let them continue. As stated in this article, there are factors which may make it actually not so safe to have so many xrays. I was 55 and have ehlers danlos as well as other health issues meaning I have had to have xrays, MRIs and CT scans a lot in my life so I honestly wish I would have insisted they stop after the 4th shot instead of the 10th+! I know this could just be coincidental, but I started experiencing sudden hair loss about 6 months after all those xrays. After about 6 months of continued hair loss and thinning, and with nothing else slowing the loss, I bought a laser cap to help it regrow which it has definitely helped but it’s still very thin in places. We’ll never know….


    I really think that full mouth xrays are already safe nowadays thanks to constant research and studies. As my Kid’s dentists from always tell me, as long as the xrays follow schedule, and protocols, it’s totally safe!

  • Jay Jaszkowski says:

    I was recently diagnosed with Squamous cell carcinoma cancer inside my nose. And within the last five years I have probably had 40 X-Rays done of my teeth. Going from different doctor to doctor to get different pricing and treatments they all wanted an x-ray. I ended up going to the Dental College in my area to get treatment where they took the most x-rays. And after that I go to my dentist they take at least 3 or 4 per year. Could this have been a potential x-ray related cancer?

  • Sara says:

    I am public health by profession and I know the potential side effects of radiation. In the past 6 months I have been to more than five dental x-rays in Paris, France. I raised my concern and all of them respond the same, “the radiation risk is as low as getting on flight from New York to Paris”(I know it is not but what to do).To me, really?! this a new school theory?! They won’t do my procedures but I had to do it because m doing root canal. I tried to delay my appointments for some interals. But seriously, they need to watch out and be responsible and listen to clients concern seriously. It is not even cheap for us.

  • Sara says:

    I am public health by profession and I know the potential side effects of radiation. In the past 6 months I have been to more than five dental x-rays in Paris, France. I raised my concern and all of them respond the same, “the radiation risk is as low as getting on flight from New York to Paris”(I know it is not but what to do).To me, really?! this a new school theory?! They won’t do my procedures but I had to do it because m doing root canal. I tried to delay my appointments for some interals. But seriously, they need to watch out and be responsible and listen to clients concern seriously. It is not even cheap for us.

  • Mike says:

    Let’s be clear , the dose is small when compared to the dose you naturally take during the day. But it’s not small when you factor how quickly you get that dose to a smaller surface area. In other words, it’s a far far greater concentration of X-ray naturally received. X-ray is a great technology, but if a patient doesn’t want one and just wants a routine cleaning with a visual check up and nothing more because they don’t have any other issues, dentists should be more accepting of this.

  • Adriana says:

    I totally agree with this article. It’s just upsetting that most Doctors will not examine the patients if xrays are not done first. You fall in the xrays protocol instead of the real necessity.

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  • Rose Herzog says:

    I have been going to this one dentist for about a year now. After taking several xrays he referred me to endodontist. The endodontist took more xrays. He did root canal and sent me back to my dentist who took more xrays. This dentist preped the tooth for crown then more xrays. Pit temporary crown on and then more xrays. Anyway i have in the past year had about 30 xrays just on 2 teeth. Is this out of line?

  • Nate says:

    Thanks for the info! Quick question how many times do they cray normally in one sitting? I was x-rayed it seemed quite a lot in one sitting and how many micro sievierts would that equal to? Thank you!

  • Bonnie lehnhoff says:

    I believe the logic of comparing dental x-rays to environmental radiation is flawed because environmental radiation isn’t being forced into ones body.
    I understand the value of dental radiation as a diagnostic tool but I also believe that it is overused And as in everything the patient needs to be informed and realize that they are the only ones who are really interested and in charge of their own well being.

  • Steve Reavis says:

    I’ve had a tooth pulled for a dental implant in January and an X-ray. Due to Covid scares I’ve been back to the dentist 3 times (getting a follow up X-ray each time of how my jaw looks for the implant) going in and the end of this month for the implant but don’t want another X-ray). Do I really need it and haven’t I had enough already? Feel like any more xrays and I’ll start to glow in the dark! Lol!

  • Sam says:

    It is remarkable that it takes half the article before we see anything resembling an answer to the question. This is a truly worthless and morally suspect piece of circumlocution. The author knows and hides the simple facts that:
    -There is no known safe level of exposure to ionizing radiation
    -The amount of radiation emitted during an X-ray is a high concentrated burst, making it far more potent than “natural” radiation.

    I.e. Every X-ray increases your risk.

    Furthermore, there is no mention at all of the studies showing a correlation between frequent dental X-rays and certain brain cancers, which you’d think anyone with a trivial sense of consciousness would consider incumbent upon themselves to divulge. Absolutely you can argue that the gains outweigh the risks, but you do not accomplish this by lying about said risks.

  • Bibs M. says:

    Some20 years ago , before the private dental sector boom , dental X-rays were utilised for few patients. Today , as almost every office has one machine, and for the price, it has become used routinely. It is appalling that dentistry has downgraded to become negligent in treating people. In one day,as patient with relatively healthy teeth and gums, I was “tricked” into paying around $90 for separate teeth imaging( 2 individual X-rays) as this is the machine dentist had, and then for the rest of the teeth got a receipt to do a full X-ray in a week. With that 90$ and exam and teeth cleaning, i have cashed out $300 for that hour! Dentistry has gone greedy. Very discouraging.

  • Jimmi says:

    While taking Radiation therapy course, a student took my FMX and twice (2 FMXs on the same day)!! And after everything was done, I came to know that I wasn’t even given any lead apron for my protection nor did I feel that I was missing something at that time. He apologized to me for doing that. My mouth had weird feeling, felt dehydrated and I had to drink more water then. Now it’s been over year and half now and I’m totally fine! What could be the long term effects on my body? I’m a 32 year old female.

  • Mathew Joseph says:

    When I go to Dentist for Routine Cleaning , they always take minimum of 6 Xrays but I have never seen them looking
    to the Xrays when Cleaning ?
    I am afraid it the way of making more money from Insurance Companies ?
    2 Annual regular Cleaning =6×2 =12 Xrays
    One Deep Cleaning per Year x Two Sessions 6 Xray per Session =12 Xrays
    Total 24 Xrays per Year only for cleaning aspect
    If any filling,crowning etc Additional X Rays …… God only knows If they are not Over doing ??????

  • W Carr says:

    You actually are superfluous.
    Tipical fence sitting and dont know so wing it.

  • Peter Magellan says:

    I went to my dentist as a cap had fallen off. During the preparation period the dental assistant gave me five x-rays.
    The first three without chest protection. For the first three the needle showing the level of radiation was pinned in the red zone. The lat two after an adjustment to the machine were in the green “normal” zone.
    Do I have anything to be concerned about?

  • Nina moreno says:

    I am Nina Moreno and Scare Upset getting too many x-rays in my cheek I feel like if I go to the dentist and he gives me x-rays I feel like I should have those x-rays and bring them to the other dentist but now they say no we have to have our own x-rays and every time I go to a different dentist is they put the cameras and cameras and x-rays an x-ray they should use the same x-rays and the first dentist did. 818-266-2193. Please refer to
    me Dentist or
    a very good orthodontist

  • Gerald Russell says:

    Feb. 2020 I had 4 x ray on my mouth. March of 2020 I had 18
    at the dentist office is that considered to many

  • John Price says:

    I’m curious of the actual safety of multiple bitewing dental x rays in same location. Had a student in training conduct an x-ray on my upper left molar. A succession of errors took place and after all was said and done, I had 7 x rays done in that particular location. As time went on I developed a strange oval/circular skin anomaly on my face, in the same location the x rays were directed. That was some 15 years ago and the skin anomaly remains today. It will flair up, swell and blush off and on but retains it’s constant off color, slightly inflamed shape. Is it possible that the radiation damaged my face there?

  • DMC says:

    Before root canal procedure the assistant took 20 xrays of the same tooth because she couldnt get the correct angle. The experienced tech came in and did it in one shot. I asked them what the hell they were doing and that i shouldnt have that many xrays. They brushed it off saying that if there was a problem with xrays they would all be dead already because of the quantity they do daily. Unbeleivable since they arent pointing the thing at themselves all day! i wish i couldve just left but the procedure had already started. I’m getting upset about this again reading some of these posts wondering if they did any damage.

    • Peter says:

      I had a similar experience. Not as many X-rays but the radiation level pinned in the critical zone. What advice have you received?

  • George Jones says:

    I have a new dentist after a year without treatment. The last one took very few x-rays. This one started out with a panorama, then four or five x-rays. Nest appointment, another bunch of xrays. Third appointment – two more. This seems excessive to me. How do I find ot my exposure so far.

  • JoJo says:

    I’ve gone to several dentists because I’ve moved and each one of them want full mouth x-rays. When I refuse they tell me we have to part ways. So I find another dentist, and have a few bite wings done then when I refuse they tell me they can’t treat me. This has been going on for years now. I have good dental hygiene and just want to maintain it by having my teeth cleaned once a year. I’ve already had all my silver amalgams replaced with ceramic ones. Now I pay over $1200 a year in dental insurance that I don’t get to use because I’ve been trying to find a dentist that doesn’t want to take x-rays every visit and none of them will accept me as a new patient. I’ve had many x-rays and a few CT scans throughout my lifetime due to sports and athletic related injuries, have take plane flights in the hundreds and have a family history of cancer. I do not want additional exposure yet am not able to make this choice for my own body? It is definitely all about the money. The dentists don’t want me because they can’t make any money on me.

  • Disappointed Patient says:

    Two years ago I changed my interval for bitewing X-rays from every year to every other year, because for two years in a row the dental assistant was taking multiple re-takes. This year she did it again! And this year she disclosed that my tori (a boney structure in the mouth) somehow causes the problem. Should she have documented this issue in my file three years ago? Should she have documented it two years ago? Should she have read her documentation in my file before attempting to take X-rays this year? I’m not sure how to describe her errors and omissions. Negligence? Gross negligence? Reckless disregard? Intentional infliction of harm? Other?

  • Mel staton says:

    Your comment that it should be done after an exam seems to make since but I do not feel from my experience that it is done very offen. I have gone thru 4 dentists who have each retired in my life time. In the case of each one the first thing the person that states when I come in to clean my teeth is: so I see it has been over a year since you have add exrays. It is all about the money.

  • Lela says:

    My dentist ordered 16 dental x Ray’s on my teeth

  • Noneya Buziness says:

    My dentist took 3 full sets of xrays in addition to xrays after seating 4 crowns and 4 fillings in less than 2 years. I moved so I had to find a new dentist, mind you I go every 6 months for exams and cleanings & the new dentist said I needed 3 fillings and 2 more crowns replaced so I wanted to get a second opinion and that dr. said I needed 4 crowns replaced and he needed to fill a tooth that had just been filled 30 days prior and one of the crowns the other doctor said needed to be replaced did not need to be replaced at all. I asked how 2 dentists could vary so much on treatment plans and his response was a dental treatment plan was an opinion and 5 different dentists will give you 5 different treatment plans…How is this possible? They both had full exams, full set of xrays so how can one dr. say there is decay under crowns that does not exist and another say there is more decay under twice as many old crowns? Dental insurance refuses to pay unless I can provide dates of crowns because they say a crown must be 10 years old yet dentists refuse to guarantee the work they do for that length of time???

  • Michael Reams says:

    So far I have had 13 x-rays this year and it is only June. I keep extending my cleanings because they always take a set of 6 x-rays and I’m starting to notice a lump on my lower left jaw so I don’t want to go back to this person anymore.
    Should I be concerned?

  • J says:

    The person at my dentist was supposed to only give me 0NE x ray. It was on ONE tooth. She gave me many. I fear it was 10. She admitted to 3 because she sent 3 to another doctor. Another employee sent records to another medical facility & they said there were definitely 4 taken of one spot (they thought maybe the X-rays were different angles but after reviewing they said they all appeared to be of the same spot). The medical facility who received the records said they saw 9 to 10 X-rays that were sent that appear to be from the same sitting…of one tooth. They just got the records today & only confirmed the 4 X-rays of one spot as definite but said they would have to go through the rest to see if all 9 or 10 are of that one spot. The lady was very rude a couple of days previous to giving the x rays. Since I showed concern for radiation (since I have had recent x rays for a major surgery & multiple past cat scans for a brain tumor that was not cancerous & has been removed), I feel she intentionally over did the amount of X-rays. Can anyone ease my mind?
    In addition, I am scheduled to get a full head X-ray at a different doctor next month for further assistance with the jaw area due to Bruxism ( grinding & clenching).

  • Monique says:

    Can having dental xrays affect a person’s thyroid too?

  • Eve says:

    Whats about children? Taking mouth for kids and OPG too . And those xrays without any lead collar. Have u ever had xrays without thyroid protection in ur childhood? N if yes are u people fine?

  • gary burt says:

    Thank you. This is very helpful. My new dentist wanted to do an Xray before he even looked inside my mouth. My previous dentist had never done any work for 24 years and told me my teeth were perfect, so I didn’t see the reason for an Xray. When I refused he did a clean on my teeth that was very painful and left the gums sore and slightly bleeding. I have never had that before and so wont be going back.

  • Anna says:

    I live in USA but from a small European country. I get all cleanings and dental work done in Europe. They never did an xray, never even mentioned it. And this is private dentist, not the free ones. Oh and did i mention checkup is free? Last time i felt sensitivity on a tooth that has a filling from a year ago and they told me all looks fine and i shouldnt worry. No xray, no checkup fee, not trying to sell a root canal or a new filling, nothing. Prefer to fly home whenever i need work done. Price of dental work is 5 times cheaper too and i wont die from cancer caused by unnecessary exposure..

  • Ann says:

    My dentist cant see cavities unless she uses xrays so she states and then if I ask any questions she charges me a 62.00 consultation fee, so I dont ask questions, now looking for a new dentist

  • Dr. Dan says:

    If the x-rays are so safe then why does a patient have to wear a lead apron and be protected around the neck from thyroid cancer due to x-rays. Why should the technician stand behind a lead curtain. The standard answer is for protection..nonsense. There is absolutely no reason for a dentist to take x-rays at less than 3 years. The reason they do is simple; money: more x-rays more false jargon (like we need to get between the teeth- really.) How about the high number of incidents where dentists have used the x-rays to claim false cavities or cavities the size of a hair on a mosquitoes ass to increase their income. The rule of thumb is that you should not have x-rays, unless of a dental issue absolutely requiring an x-ray to develop a treatment plan. So the proof is this: the next time you visit a dentist tell him you do not want x-rays, just a cleaning. DO not be surprised if he refuses treatment saying x-rays are required -(to increase her income). A histine molecule lying between two growth genes can be broken by an x-ray, you will get cancer. Dentists since the time x-rays were employed for dentistry have ever increased there use. Now many dentists are saying every 3 months! WOW!! 3,6, 9,12 never 36 -get it?? If you calculate the radiation you are exposed to one finds that after 12 x-rays the radiation is equivalent to an MRI (which does cause cancer and the guidelines are to use an MRI only when necessary as determined by cost-benefit to the patient. The technicians are very poorly qualified. I had one tell me the radiation was similar to your phone -terrific they do not know the difference between microwave radiation and x-rays and the length of the electromagnetic wave of each as related to body penetration. That is why the inepts will x-ray you 8 and 12 times, becasue the dental staff are so ignorant and lack such concern and responsibility for patient care they do not consider the potential harm to the patient. You should refuse routine x-rays and have them no more than every 3 years or more. For you children be aware that the children are going and are more susceptible to harmful radiation that will occur 20-30 years later. Prohibit x-rays on your children. If you really need them limit to 5 years or more. Under no circumstances allow a technician or dentist to take continuous x-rays (as they very often do). It is an indication that the tech is poorly trained and has poor capability. I have seen many times a person under-going 8-12 x-rays for an examination that only required two. The extras are always due to incompetence, and you have had many dental x-rays due to tech incompetence. Be tough minded. It is your health not theirs. Make your own decision. And, do not sing the HIPPA. Check out on the internet why you should not sign HIPPA. Dentists will do everything they can to get you to sign. When you read why you should not sign and the myths associated with signing HIPPA, you will know why!And, understand they cannot refuse to treat you if you do not sign and if you do sign it is a distinct disadvantage to you and a great advantage to the healthcare group.

    • Al says:

      I’m an actual wet-hand practicing dentist of 27 years who’s super concerned about radiation. I’d like to see “Dr. Dan’s dental degree”, which likely is not in existence! You really believe MRIs causes cancer due to radiation? Read up on what it is!
      First of all, an X-ray costs $5 to $20 per Xray. The sensors are very expensive, each costing about $5000! And they do go bad after so many exposures. Plus the times the operator has to spend on them, making them the lease profitable procedure in Dentistry! So no sane doctor exposes patients for monetary gain! Xrays are taken on need bases and not by time alone. So it’s different for each patient based on their caries and periodontal activity.
      To address any radiation concerns, one must realize from the time my father practiced, back in the 50s thru the 70s, the manual films were not very fast and the X-ray tubes were not collimetered, so much larger scattered radiation was exposing patients and doctors in the room, yet my father or any of his colleagues or their patients didn’t die of radiation nor even get sick because of it. So, today with the new digital systems, there’s such small amounts, that with the Nomads they don’t even recommend a shield for the xrays administrators. I use the shield, for peace of mind and legal consequences of it. It’s so sad that unqualified people scare others with total misinformation!

      • Eve says:

        Al i read almost all the comments here and one ur comment relieved me n gave me a sense of satisfaction. U r rite MRI isnt ionizing radiations. But i m so guilty being a mom of child who had 4 mandible views and wasnt guarded with the lead shield or thyroid shield. Once had a chest x ray and that too had his neck irradiated in it. N one abdominal xray .when he was around 2-3 years old in 2015 . Each Mandible view had 11.5 micro grays radiation. Means around 0.04 msv. Dont know exact dose of chest and abdominal radiation doses though. Its been 4-5 years now but i m still living in that time and keep on reading comments related to xrays everywhere on net. I m guilty. But atleast ur father’s experience has made me feel bit relaxed.

  • Anno Sauer says:

    I have dental insurance
    A few month ago, I got a zirconium bridge. The bridge is good, cost is $3800. I paid $1800 in advance.
    Now the insurance refuses to pay the remainder, unless I submit to another complete set of xrays.
    To be sure, prior to the bridge was done, there were xrays done. Yet as I posted before, I refused after the dental assistant had to take multiple xrays of the same spot, because they could not get it right the first time.
    My dentist insist, that only 21 xrays had been done in maybe the last 3 years, but it is maybe 3 times a s much, since there was not a single instance when the xray was done with the sensor place in the right spot.
    Shall I complain to the TDI (Texas Department of Insurances)?
    Maybe I cancel the insurance, pay my own bills and tell the dentist NO XRAY unless there is a high suspicion that there is something wrong with the tooth.
    Usually when there is something visible on the xray, you know it anyway… pain or the dentist finds the problem with a probe.
    Actually I had teeth which bothered me a lot but there is NOTHING visible on the xray according to the dentist. Then he gave me amoxicillin, which puts me into the hospital… $8000 of hospital bills, I am sick and tired of doctors.
    I will be my own health advocate…. WE DO IT ONLY MY WAY.
    Sometimes you need to know when to quit… pull the damn tooth out and get on with your life.

  • Anno Sauer says:


    I am an EE and have knowledge about the subject matter.
    During my last dental visit, the dental assistants, who took the xrays were so incompetent, that they had to take the same xray 3-4 times for each individual spot in my mouth, before they managed to place the sensor in the right place.
    After about 10 xrays in short succession, I refused.
    So I asked the individuals who took the xrays during my last dental visit about their knowledge what xray is all about.
    They did not have a clue… not even the basics. In fact the dental assistant was standing in front of the xray beam
    The xray source was a Nomad, which has relatively low dose (16msec 60KV), but less is better.
    While xray exposure is accumulative, I do not accept the comparison between natural background radiation and a very high dose short duration xray burst. A single burst of Xray is NOT the same as the same amount of radiation spread over a longer period.
    Besides, I have plenty of personal evidence, that all the xrays did NOT indicate problems early on. Crowns were done and only AFTER it was revealed that a root-canal was required. But even after a root canal was done an abscess developed and $5K later of special dental surgeon and two operations, the tooth had to be extracted.

  • George Jones says:

    People should understand that if a cure for cancer is finally found, that can help fight other diseases , like cardiovascular diseases, like brain diseases , like kidney diseases , like liver diseases etc. If we lobby for investing in gene therapy we can cure many other diseases also. Ask your governments to increase funding for finally finding a cure for cancer. There are many types of cancer and all of them can be cured with gene therapy.

  • Lilly says:

    I just went to a dental school. They took a pamaram view and 12 small films. They did not any lead apron on me now I am worried.

  • John Kale says:

    I think we must lobby for a cure for cancer. So many things can cause cancer, radiation is one of them. So we must put our attention on finding a cure for cancer instead of worrying about anything. So, please lobby for cure for cancer. Lobby the governments, lobby the institutions, lobby the health institutes, lobby the companies. We must lobby everywhere.

  • marcodeo says:

    I AM GOING TO AVOID DENTISTS AT THIS POINT. YOU SAY ABOVE THAT DENTISTS SHOULD TAKE XRAYS EVERY 2-3 YEARS. MINE DOES IT EVERY 6 MONTHS. My advise do xrays only when you have a problem. Rinses can keep you from needing a root canal .My dad had one he said never again.

    AS A KID my dentist did 2-3 fillings every 6 months. I only have 7 fillings. So he was redialing them every 6 months to make money. I didn’t know any better I accepted it.

  • marcodeo says:

    My Dentist takes X-rays every 6 months

  • Gina Leo says:

    I went to new dentist because I needed a bridge done. I was given18 xrays. Very concerning to what I’m used to and the way the X-ray machine was put all over my body , just weird. There was a plastic bag on X-ray machine too. I was there for 2 hours. Problem came for never spoken of or why all these xrays.

  • Lisa says:

    I just went to a new dentist and had 18 xrays taken. They were a “full set” even though I expressed a concern about minimizing the amount of X-rays. Now I’m upset. They didn’t even discuss anything with me beforehand.

  • Mohammad Anisur Rahman Siddiqui says:

    Today my dentist took 18 X-Rays for my gum treatment, I’m really afraid of it now, is it gonna do harm in my mouth cell or face cell. Please advise.

  • Gerald Nelson says:

    I’m 67 and have had a basal cell on my nose that required plastic surgery after MOHS surgery plus 3 other facial surgeries to remove cancers. I’ve told my dentist but he insists it’s worth the risk. I don’t think I should have an X-ray unless it is really necessary. I have to believe that my age and longer term exposure to put me at higher risk from the adverse effects of dental X-rays. Any thoughts?

  • Dana Goetz says:

    I went to my old dentist who took x-rays & said I needed to have a tooth pulled and he pulled the tooth. He then said I should come back the next day as he wanted to pull 5 teeth & put in a bridge. (I then heard that it was probably unnecessary as he needed money) So, I went to another dentist who took x-rays and said I needed a root canal on the other side of my mouth. I went to my husband’s root canal dentist who took an x-ray and completed the root canal. The dentist who took all the 2d X-rays was upset that I went to the root canal dentist and said he didn’t want me as a patient any more. So, I went to the 3rd dentist who took many x-rays and said I needed a root canal on the tooth the 2d dentist had filled. I’m now worried that I have had too many x-rays and that may have put me in danger of brain cancer. What should I do?

  • David Nelson says:

    Just get Xrays without warning or explanations. Don’t want them. A ready said. British born dentist never have taken an x Ray. But the polish dentists every year. Although told them not to.

  • Angie A says:

    My 10 year old has been getting xrays every 6 months and he has no tooth decay . So I’m a bit confused as to why they keep taking them. they never ask me if it’s okay to take xrays and today I realized after we left the dentist that the xrays are getting out of control. They took a diff type of scan today and the image scared me because it was red..why was it red ? And why are they giving him so many xrays ..since he was 6 years old. I’m about to stop taking him to this dentist..I’m not even sure this is a pediatric dentist bit was referred to by the ins company

  • Jack Robinson says:

    Unfortunately, it is very hard to sort out the various reasons for dentists ordering xrays or lobbying for state laws requiring them. Patient health should be and undoubtedly is, the primary concern in deciding when xrays are necessary, but there are other issues. A primary one is protection for the dentist against a lawsuit for failure to detect a problem early enough for proper treatment, rather than protection of the patient. And also, one cannot ignore the occasional case of personal financial profit in taking unnecessary xrays, especially when the dentist has just made a substantial capital investment in new xray equipment.

  • Jeanann says:

    I went ahead and had my dental second opinion and a whole new set of x-rays (after only 3 weeks from the first). Of course, they told me it was perfectly safe and that they required them in order to treat patients. Hopefully I’m not overly radiated :). Interestingly, this dentist and hygienist differed from the previous in their diagnosis regarding need for deep cleaning of several areas, where the previous dentist only wanted to deep clean one wisdom tooth. So one says all looks ok except for one spot; the other says several areas need checking. Also, second dentist put in a composite filling the same day of my first visit (today) on a spot that was not mentioned by previous dentist. Go figure. Different opinions can be confusing…..who knows which is best. Good part was second dentist actually took my insurance (a Medicare Advantage plan) , so some things are covered, at least partiallly.

  • Paul S says:

    I’ve gotten 9 x rays from my dentist in the past 3 months. First 4 were “routine” bite wings they take once a year. I was then told I needed a crown so on that return visit the hygienist took two x rays of that tooth (3 weeks later). Then the dentist came in and asked for them again. The hygienist took two more of the same tooth same places. Then today when getting my permanent crown they took another of the same tooth to se if the crown was all the way down. Was this all necessary? Can someone give me some perspective on this office and their X-ray frequency?

  • Jeanann says:

    Had 4 bitewing and panoramic image at dentist….going for a second opinion 3 weeks later and they will want a full series x-rays. Is this too much radiation in a short time?

    • Paul S says:

      I don’t know. But I share your concearn. My dentist office has X-ray my mouth multiple times my last 3 visits. This is the same office. Same dentist. I’m becoming uncomfortable with them and their pattern. At least in your case there’s a plausible need for more for a different person. Though you’d think they could share the images.

      • Jeanann says:

        Thanks Paul. I’ve heard the amount of radiation is so small it should not matter, as they probably told you at your dentist – but I don’t know whether to believe that. Also, I kinda hate to disclose that I’m seeing this dentist for a second opinion. I like the other one, but am taking advantage of a new patient special and am essentially “dentist shopping.” Guess I should ask them up front if its ok to get xrayed again after having them 3 weeks ago at another dentist…. (?)…and just be honest with them that I’m “shopping.” I was surprised that the previous dentist did not seem concerned about a couple issues I thought might need more consideration.

  • Benito Vitales says:

    My dentist gave me more than 20 times x Ray in one sitting. Is this dangerous for my health?

  • Linda Cali says:

    If you want to go to another dentist; is your present dentist required by law to give you a copy of your X-rays?

  • Janette says:

    They say that the x rays at dentist are low, and digital,so no danger. Of course the dentist and dentist office workers will tell you this on a dentist visit. I was told at my dental visit for a teeth cleaning, that I should receive full mouth 18 x rays, because was recommended for every 3 years, and I was then overdue. Had they told me 5 or even 8, I likely would have not thought much of it, but 18? No I thought 18 x rays in my mouth all at one time was a tide bit excessive. especially since I don’t trust the safety of x rays whether low or high dosage. To me since x rays are known to cause cancer, whether high or low dosage, they propose a risk. So now I need to haggle with these dentists over whether to get what I feel are too many x rays simply to get my teeth cleaned. I don’t know why they can’t devise a method where they can x ray an image of a full mouth of teeth with fewer X rays than 18, like getting the full mouth image with just 4 or 8 x rays, instead of 18 separate x rays

  • Jean Sharac says:

    Thank you. This is information is most helpful.

  • Nancy Dennett says:

    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.

    • Janette says:

      I’m with you on this. They claim that dentists are not driven by the profit-when they insist that they give you x rays,they say that the insurance companies push for these x rays, not the dentist. This I don’t believe, because dentist gets a higher payment if x rays are included.So of course dentists gain $$ from
      x rays. Also if you have no gum problems,then no reason to need a full mouth of x rays(and that’s a lot).Fact you don’t need x rays even if you have gum desease,because it’s existence is plainly seen,all’s needed is treatment for it. Seems to me you should only need attention given to the tooth that is a problem, perhaps even an x ray, 1 x ray on it, not 10 or more on your whole set of teeth. They say that the x ray are required to detect problems under and between teeth that dentist can’t visually see,and also for cancer under the palate in your mouth. Well cancer of the palate begins with a white spot on the gums or palate,which the dentist can clearly see on examining your mouth,and only then should an x ray be ordered to see if the spot is serious.Plus they say that children are more at risk to cancer from oral x rays than adults,likely because their skin is thinner, and more permeable to x rays, than an adult’s oral cavity, so with them caution should be used.. But as we age, our skin becomes thinner and goes back to that of a child. Therefore, excessive x rays should be used with caution with an 88 year old thinned skin, such as yourself, same as with that of children. Unless they are thinking that you’re aged without a lot of years ahead,so it doesn’t matter.

  • Apolinario.mabuni says:

    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.

  • Wolfgang Hendrix says:

    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!

  • Wilma McGlew says:

    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!

    • Janette says:

      X rays required by law ? What law? As I understand it, and was told by a dental office worker,it is the
      dental health dept ,and dental health insurance companies that required oral x rays. And the number of required x rays can vary slightly from one dental insurance plan to the next. The insurance companies set their number of payable x rays based upon x rays that they deem reasonably needed to prevent and restore common dental problems.Example for my dental insurance coverage,they specify that they will pay for a full mouth of x rays every 3 years. So if I had a full mouth x rays last year, my dental coverage will not pay for it until another 3 years,,and it won’t be healthy for me to get another full mouth x ray the 2nd year, based on the space of time that they recommend and will pay for. I assume that if you come up with a problem in a tooth or gums,then the dentist can x ray as many teeth as he thinks he needs within the quidelines of the dental insurance that the patient has. I personally, am not a big fan of x rays, unless you have a body illness that requires being x rayed. I’m not too comfortable with a full mouth of x rays at any time, not every 3 years,not any year, unless it is needed to restore an existing problem of gums or teeth.

  • Dan says:

    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 says:

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

  • alan zeidman says:

    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.

    • Janette says:

      Now any fool can see what is going on here. If you have gone to a hygienist 6 months ago, had your teeth cleaned, had x rays then, and now 6 months latter go to get teeth cleaned and again x rays, like for what? Only if the dentist as procedure goes, examined your mouth before the cleaning, and he’s sees tooth problems, only then should there be a need for x rays at that cleaning visit. So if on visits for a cleaning, the dentist did not tell you he saw any tooth problems, and you didn’t complain of any either, then the visit to the hygienist required x rays for no other reason than to pad their bill..

  • Sheri Andrews says:

    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.

  • Ettigirb says:

    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 says:

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

    • Janette says:

      I’m in the same position as yourself.I went in for a cleaning, and they tell me 18 x rays will accompany the cleaning,and would not clean my teeth without them.So when I sat in the chair with the x ray apron guard on, I was about to open my mouth for the technician, thinking that she would like put the x ray apparatus into my mouth maybe 7 times at best (which is not a little),while she ran back and forth from the room. Then it occurred to me to ask her,” how many times are you going to put the x ray thing into my mouth and run in and out of this room ? She answered that she was taking 18 x rays, and would insert the x ray apparatus into my mouth 18 times,whilst she ran in and out of the x ray room. I was astonished,like 18 x rays,in one sitting ? I told her that I was 73 years old,and being that the 2018 life expectancy was presently 80 years old, I kinda like to live my last 7 or 10 years, without oral cancer-obtained from excessive mouth x rays. I’m now trying to figure-how do I get my teeth cleaned,and they’re not dirty), but get them cleaned as yearly recommended, without being intimidated with getting excessive x rays.

  • scott slatter says:

    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

    • Janette. says:

      You better go research and find out what “full mouth x rays” mean.I was told by the dentist “full mouth x ray”,meant 18 x rays, of which I thought was very excessive, and not necessary to accomplish my dental visit, which was for a teeth cleaning.Didn’t submit to the x rays and they wouldn’t clean my teeth either. My particular dental insurance recommends and pays for I full mouth of x rays every 3 years.I assume full mouth x rays are somewhere in the neighborhood of 18 or so x rays. I’m thinking getting 18 x rays to your mouth, more often then 1 in 3 years, is not recommended by dental insurance, who’re quided by the dental health dept. Dental health dept., or no, I am weary of getting 18 full mouth x rays, in one sitting, every 3 years,or even every 5 or 8 years. But that’s just me.

  • Burice Dennard says:

    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.

  • R Hooper says:

    I have a 4 X-rays in one month bad ?

  • Dino Carlucci says:

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

  • Mario Voce says:

    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.

  • G says:

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

  • Mary Bourdon says:

    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.

  • Stephanie says:

    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.

  • Sylvia says:

    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?

  • george says:

    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

  • 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 says:

    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

    • Janette says:

      Well I want to know as well, “how many x rays are too many”. These dentist are out to get the most payment out of your dental insurance coverage,or from you, as possible. So they will exhaust as much from the insurance or from you as they can. If the dental insurance pays for 10, 20, or 30 x rays-during a certain span of time,the dentists will give you as many x rays that are allowable and payable by your dental insurance. And for sure, dentist won’t treat a tooth without first x raying it, and that is Ok with me, as I can plainly see that the tooth needs fixing, just don’t take 10 x rays of that one tooth,when 1 would do. I just have a problem with going in to fix one tooth,and they insist of x raying teeth and parts of my mouth which aren’t presenting any present problem.

  • Cathy Mauro says:

    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:

  • Cathy Mauro says:

    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.

  • Shelby good says:

    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 says:

      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!!!

  • Mary ducre says:

    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.

  • Ragnar says:

    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.

    • Janette says:

      No they are not all that careful of how they put that anti x ray apron on you. Me, I always hold the apron up to under my chin. But as I now think of it, by so doing,I am exposing my hands to the x rays in the process of holding the apron under my chin. Your thyroid is located at the bottom of your neck-just above the clavicle bone, in the middle (The clavicle bone is the long bone at the bottom of the neck that extends out towards your two shoulders) So that apron that’s placed to protect the thyroid, falls somewhat short of covering the thyroid, in my opinion. There should be a collar piece attached to the neck of that protection guard that they put on you, so that it extends more upwards -covering more of your neck. Especially so -since they so haphazardly put the thing on you without regard to how far up your neck they have secured it.

    • Janette says:

      You know what it is, we need to get our teeth professionally cleaned-as we can’t remove plague by ourselves no matter how well we clean our teeth, plague develops over time,and is damaging if not removed.Cavities happen, we need that fixed too. Now dentist and the dental insurances set rules that say-in order to get teeth cleaned,cavities filled, or gums cleaned, we must get x rays at such visits, what can we do to omit the x rays ? Nothing. You either get the x rays, or remain with plaque that gets worst, and you loose your teeth. You call the American Dental Association or the health dept to complain or ask why,and they are likely to tell you that x rays guide lines are decided by the health or dental association, and dentists are required to follow such guide lines in providing dental treatment. But just like anything that brings in money to the provider, I think dental businesses are the main ones that have made it a requirement to have our mouths so highly x rayed- for such minor problems, like getting teeth cleaned, or for filling just one tooth,but requiring 5 x rays to fill it, these x rays increases their bill.

  • Nancy bainbridge says:

    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

  • Lynn says:

    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!

    • Janette says:

      I personally have never gone to get my teeth cleaned without it including x rays,and the dentist examining my teeth along with the cleaning. You go in for a teeth cleaning prophylaxis it always includes x rays, dentist examining teeth, along with the hygienist cleaning. I have refused the x rays on one cleaning visit, and for some reason they didn’t push it, and the hygienist cleaned my teeth anyway. But every other time that I’ve had an appointment to have teeth cleaned they have insisted on x rays of some number,or they would not service me.Worst was recently, when they wanted to take what was defined as full mouth x rays consisting of 18 x rays, when all I needed was a cleaning,-I refused and they would not clean my teeth without the 18 x rays. I have had as many as12 x rays taken at a visit to get my teeth cleaned, but because it had been a couple years since I’d gone to the dentist and had x rays,and because the dentist refused to service me without the x rays, I went ahead with the 12 x rays so I could get my teeth cleaned. But I would never sit for 18 teeth x rays,when I’m only there for a cleaning, especially if I’ve had dental x rays the previous year,unless there is a serious problem in my mouth that requires so many x rays.

  • Grace Doel says:

    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.

  • Elder Rondy G Fleming says:

    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.

  • Auden says:

    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 says:

      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!

      • Janette says:

        Very good advice. I don’t trust the way dentist so liberally subject patients to x rays. Wonder how many of dentists themselves get 12 oral x rays every year,when the worst dental work they need is a prophylaxis(cleaning) or maybe one and only one cavity at a dental appointment. I’ll bet none do.

  • Law Les says:

    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.

  • jazmin says:

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

  • Margaret says:

    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 says:

      “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 says:

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

    • Cgk says:

      Mobile phones have been classified as a group 1 carcinogen by WHO. Your exposure to talking on mobile phones in excessive amounts exposes you to high levels of radio frequencies. Depending on what side you hold your phone to your head increases your chances of a brain tumour. You think all this is bad? Wait until the new 5G goes on line? It’s very scary stuff. Read up on it. It makes the topic of dental x-rays look unimportant. Dental itself is pretty scary. Look up root canals in relation to cancer. Scary stuff!

  • Carl Wagner says:

    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.

  • Lesley says:

    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.

  • Barb says:

    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.

  • sarah says:

    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.

  • rhea yvonnie Figueroa says:

    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

  • Jody Torres says:

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

  • bob S says:

    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!!!

  • Lois Halbert says:

    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?

  • Conrad says:

    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

  • Deanna j says:

    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

  • Matthew wolfe says:

    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

  • Luke Aspian says:

    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?

  • Joe says:

    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 says:

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

  • Maxwell Smart says:

    “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.

  • John says:

    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?

  • Dean says:

    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???

  • Miriam says:

    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?

  • Bob Smith says:

    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.”

  • Candy says:

    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.

  • Lois says:

    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.

  • Geraldine Smith says:

    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.

  • Dustin Ginsberg says:

    (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.

    • Dustin Ginsberg says:

      That should be, I am resubmitting this comment…

    • Bob Smith says:

      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.

  • Dustin Ginsberg says:

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

  • Dustin Ginsberg says:

    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 says:

      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?

      • Cgk says:

        It’s not a conspiracy. It’s a fact! Your worth more sick than you are healthy.
        “They make nothing for a cure but trillions in the treatments”

    • Jim West says:

      Pressing your finger lightly on someone’s arm is harmless, but if that energy occurs in 1/1000ths of a second (like an x-ray photo) it would explode the arm off. So the “airplane trip” explanation is bogus.

  • T Cummings says:

    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.

    • gigi says:

      I was just at the dentist recently and after a couple of years of refusing x-rays. The dentist used the same excuse — negligent care. He cannot tell what condition my teeth are without x-rays. My teeth are in good health and I do not see a need for x-rays. I agree with you about the ADA ‘Lobby.’ They all give you the line ” oh — but it’s the law” — yeah, thanks to your lobbyists. Give me a break!

  • condor9 says:

    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.

  • Logan says:

    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.

    • SS says:

      I am a hygienist and would like to help explain the rationale for taking certain radiographs. First, I would like to say that I do understand that there are some practices that do not have the patient’s best interest at heart and I am sorry to hear about your terrible experiences.
      Secondly, when you come to a dentist office for a cleaning radiographs are necessary to diagnose any pathology and evaluate your bone level (This is very important to assess since the bone is what is holding in your teeth.) Not only do we want you to be disease free it is true that dentists can be sued for not properly diagnosing and there is no way to have a proper diagnosis without the proper radiographs. In addition, not updating radiographs falls under what is called, “watchful neglect” which can also cause the dentist to fall into legal trouble.
      There are three main types of radiographs that are taken.
      1) Periapical films or “PA’s” are taken to see around the root of the tooth. These are necessary to assess an abscessed tooth, detect calcified lesions that could potentially grow and cause a tooth to become loose or fall out, and detect any abnormal pathology that you may not feel but could cause a problem in the future. Several of these radiographs are necessary for root canal procedures to ensure that all canals are “sealed off” meaning that all of the diseased nerve has been removed and replaced with the restorative material.
      2) Bitewings
      These are used to detect decay between teeth, under fillings and crowns, and to asses bone level. It is very important for these to be updated regularly in order to detect issues when they are small. I have seen many people who have refused radiographs only to have a root canal or tooth extracted when a simple filling could have most likely been all that was needed if the issue was caught sooner.
      3) Panorex
      This type of radiograph is taken to asses around the roots of the teeth, the length of the roots, the TMJ, the position of the teeth, and to determine presence of third molars. Cancer can also form in the jaw without a patient knowing which would possibly require removal of a portion of the jaw along with the teeth. You cannot diagnose decay with this type of radiograph or bone level due to the angulation and overlapping of the teeth which cannot be avoided. This type of radiograph should be updated around every 5-8 years unless there is an issue that needs to be addressed.
      Taking 18 radiographs the first time you visit a dentist office is also normal. Six periapical films should be taken of the front teeth (three on the top arch and three on the bottom arch) in order to detect and abnormalities that may be present and decay that may not be seen clinically. Then, eight periapical films should be taken of the back teeth for the same reasons. Lastly, four bitewings should be taken to detect decay because it is not possible to see in between the back teeth due to their thickness. The bitewings should be update every one to two years after this.
      I hope this is helpful and that you all find a dentist and hygienist who you can trust and are comfortable with! Best wishes :)

      • SS says:

        I would also like to clarify that while PA’s of the back teeth are taken bitewings are also necessary because you cannot properly assess the bone level and small cavities with a periapical film due to the vertical angulation required to take a PA.

  • Karen says:

    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.


  • Denise Majied says:

    thanks so much for this information.

    Denise Majied

  • Eileen says:

    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 says:

      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 says:

      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.

  • Gerry says:

    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 says:

      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 says:

        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 says:

        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.

  • David J says:

    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 says:

      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?

  • Babaesot says:

    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.

    • rhea yvonnie Figueroa says:

      U r correct and how I read the answer?

    • Jackie says:

      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

  • Lewis says:

    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 says:

      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 says:

        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 says:

        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 says:

      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?

      • Alex Morgan says:

        Dentist usually take 18 x-rays every 5 years.

      • GeraldS says:

        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 says:

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

    • Dina says:

      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 says:

      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 says:

      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.

  • Ernest Jackson says:

    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

  • Ed Maloney says:

    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 says:

      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….

      • Paul Anthony says:

        Also, be aware that, yes, your math denotes a little more 8 MIRCO Sieverts naturally per day, but that is 8 micro Sieverts defused all over your entire body and not concentrated and localized onto one very small area of your mouth. Make a conjecture what the area of that one small area of your mouth is compared to the the entire area of your body and you will readily see that it’s way worse that what this article is suggesting. Let’s just say for argument sake that all over your body is 100 times greater than just a small area of your mouth. This means that the concentration risk is 100 times greater than what naturally occurs!!

    • Jackie says:

      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

    • J says:

      I too had like 3 full mouth x-rays because the orthodontist wanted 2 or 3 and the oral surgeon wanted one, all in one year. J

      • Al says:

        As an experienced and concerned practicing dentist, I’m sorry about your bad experiences. I agree that there are assistants who need better training for sure. There are also inept dentists, as well as MDs or any other healthcare providers for sure, so we all need to do research and find a caring doctor and staff. A child with no history of cavities and good oral hygiene, doesn’t need xrays every 6 months! The ALARA rule, as dr Sutherland mentioned, it to reduce unnecessary exposure, and to minimize the amount of radiation, direct or scattered, a patient receives per exposure. Xray collimators, digital sensors, and the software programming all aid in reduction of radiation. And of course there’s such thing as too much radiation. If you had a full series without a shield, you’ll be fine and shouldn’t worry about cancer or damage to your cells. However, 3 full mouth exposures is dumb to say the least!. Digital, by far most commonly used method, can be emailed to anyone, anywhere without RE exposure of the patient and no loss of quality. Manual films, can and should be duplicated and sent to other specialists! And Why are dentists still using Manual films? A good 70-80% more radiation than digital! It’s insane!

      • Stephen m P says:

        I went to what turned out to be a trashy dentist here in town yesterday. His staff was totally inept. They took about 40 xrays of my teeth. I started getting worried and thought I would just hang in there but the idiot kept screwing it up. He even had his hand in the xray shot taking radiation. Thats when I knew I was never going back. Now Im seriously concerned after reading about xray exposure!
        What should I do?

      • What to do says:

        My daughter needs braves so I took her to orthodontists for counsaltation. The 1st one only took 2 xays, the tech at the 2nd one took a lot as she said she needs to check to see if my daughter has cavities. But I told the tech that my daughter just had cleaning 2 months ago, and they messed up and took more! My daughter is only 12 yrs old!!! I don’t want to go back to the one with bad skilled tech even though the doctor is good, I feel like the tech are gonna mess up other things as well. But if I take my daughter to a new orthodontist, they’re gonna do X-ray again!!!! Now I’m really worried!!!! What should I do? All the dentists are claiming the X-ray dose is nothing to worry about….,..!!!!!

    • Kimberly C Yates says:

      I went to the dentist one month ago I got tons of x-rays they’re sending me to another dentist who also wants to do their own set of X-rays. I’m not going to let them do it , can’t see why they can’t use the same x-rays . I don’t understand why they
      dont understand my concern . I’m having no issues with infection etc.

    • Nel says:

      They want repeat x-rays
      It doesn’t matter that you did a few months ago,
      because in that way they can get more payment from the insurance.
      It’s a business they Do not care about the patient only about money

    • Meghann Smitg says:

      HELP! I just had three sets of dental x- rays done in three months! Two of them were done with the new ‘round the head imaging, which I heard are higher in radiation and one that I had yesterday was 18 images of my mouth!!! It was fast producing imagery which is less radiation than slower producing imagery of that kind. It was about 9 of these units of radiation times 18!!! That’s 162 in one day! That’s shot into into my face! I literally don’t feel so good today! Multiply that with my others and it’s too high for my comfort. My face feels numb today. Has anyone ever had THIS?! If so, what happened to you? That’s like who knows around 500 shot into my face in three months as apposed to our yearly natural exposures. I pretty much feel like I am going to die from this. They ALL just x ray all fools upon walking in the door, give us no choice if we want treatment, had me thinking this was procedure. They are not checking ANYONE out prior! They are killing people, so can I charge them with attempted murder? Anyone know the effects or what may happen after this & this seems to be an unheard of amount!?

      • Kace says:

        Hi Meghan! How are you feeling? My situation is a little different but I had a CT scan and then got a numb head sensation which I’ve had for months. I also got stomach issues, hair loss and dry skin. Hope you’ve improved.

  • Vuthy says:

    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 ?

  • Name (required) says:

    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 says:

      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 says:

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

      • Kia Sent says:

        That much sieverts would melt you. You mean microsieverts.

      • Sk says:

        I just got done arguing with the dentist office about x raying my son again as they said insurance will cover it…I told her it wasn’t about whether its covered or not but the fact between his Orthodontist and dentist he’s gotten 3 already in 12 months. She argued this exposure is not panoramic and has less dosage of radiation and argued it’s as low as getting sun bathed at the beach! I told her it didn’t matter, as it wasnt necessary as todays appointment was for cleaning. And her argument was invalid because if the dosage was as low as sunbathing at beach then his exposure level would be high as he’s been at the beach often this summer so better if he skipped on the x rays. I think I might switch dentist who isn’t so pushy and only concerned about taking in dollars than respecting the patients health.

      • Sylvia says:

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

      • Humble Citizen says:

        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.

      • Jerry says:

        My dentist assistants forgot to cover my body and she gave me one x-ray what do you think happened at this point to my body?

      • Sally says:

        I don’t think you have to worry Jerry – the xrays these days are extremely focused only on the area of the xray. While it’s a good idea to wear the lead apron over you, it’s not really a big deal. Don’t stress about it!

      • Judy Hinterlong says:

        I dont know if it’s normal but I had 15 in one root canal procedure. I think dentists are too lazy in exposing us to unnecessary xrays. There actually is NO known safe exposure, the effects of all the xrays you have are cumulative, there’s a good chance that many thyroid cancers may be from failure to protect the thyroid during dental xrays. Use them judiciously.

      • Thomas says:

        The dentist did that to me & I8 x-rays ,I just had x-rays done 4 month ago !!! I better find a good lawyer

      • Hamdi omar says:

        I got 30 x-rays in 2 hours is that bad. Do I need to sue them

      • Nina moreno says:

        Good for You I went to another dentist tTramn The Montgomery Plazashe told me the root canal is perfect ,,I still have Thepain she sent me back to him and told me to tell him to give me another root canal And put me on anabiotic’sand Dentist Martinez said no that Then hegave me gave a perfect iroot canal is perfect ! then why does why Trum she send me back for Root canal is perfect ?for now and I soon as I got there the girl put the camera on my cheek all around my head and then he comes in and says no I’m not gonna do it because the x-rays perfect They already had x-rays with the root canal and they gave me more x-rays only to tell me he wouldn’t do itdoes that make sense?? i’m very upset I wish I could find the right dentist I am with Humana Gold plus and they are the ones they keep sending me to different ones I’m very upset and worried Ninfa Moreno 817 266-2193 that is terrible are use Dentist say different things it could be that I need a bridge ,, or that I need another root canal ,,which the other one said no ,that it was perfect one ,,,still cannot find a problem I need a good dentist I’ve been in pain for more than a year and a half

      • Jeremy Lindsey says:

        And some people are intelligent. I looked this up because I got 18 x-rays yesterday due to incompetent dental assistants and silly procedures. And if you read the article, it was cause you thought it was a question that deserved an answer too.

      • Ingrid says:

        I had 20 Xrays on one tooth !!!! The surrounding tooth started falling apart and now I need a cap on that tooth also. I think too many Xrays on the same tooth is very dangerous. Now I want to go to a new dentist am am afraid they will take more Xrays. Very scary.

      • Kathy says:

        Thank you for your analogy. I have tried to make this argument many times to no avail. I’m always told at the dental office the x-rays only amount to about 3 hours in the sun. Well, ok, when you have a full set of at least 14, plus bite wings, that would be one heck of a sunburn getting all that sun exposure at once. Plus when your sent to a specialist such as an endodontist or orthodontist and they refuse to use your dentist x-rays and make 4 more of their own or a panorex. I honestly can’t sleep at night for weeks after going to the dentist from worrying about this stuff.

      • Dawn says:

        Hi Kathy
        I just read your post. I just went to the dentist today and had more Xrays!!! I had a crown. Everytime they do an x-ray, they say they have to do it ovet and over!!! Because of their mistake!!! I have been to several dentists and they love to x-ray, x-ray, x-ray!
        Not only that but her assistant has 2 times. Put the apron on but just tossed the neck collar on the counter. Do you even believe this. Stupid me I didnt even say anything to her. Then I worry about the x-rays the same as you said you do. And the damm collar. I am sick of going to the dentist. Sorry for so much, but I am upset tonight. Almost everytime I leave the dentist office. It makes me furious! I will be ready next time with questions about why and why so many..No more X-rays for me in the near future. I know how you felt, I feel the same way.

      • Lori Ramirez says:

        My last dentist just did an exam with limited X-rays as needed if I reported discomfort in the tooth; he was my dentist for over 25 years; today I went to a new dentist as mine retired; they said they could not treat me unless I agreed to 18 full mouth exrays…now I’m worried and very angry. I won’t go back there and will keep looking for a more reasonable dental practice

    • Tim Duncan says:

      Excellent article-flexible parameters allow patient to identify need for frequency-
      I was surprised at low risk damage vs sunlight-

  • Rhys Rawson says:

    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!

  • Wally West says:

    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.

    • Siyka Penkova says:

      Is it normal during a root canal treatment to have five X-Rays?

      • Judy Hinterlong says:

        I dont know if it’s normal but I had 15 in one root canal procedure. I think dentists are too lazy in exposing us to unnecessary xrays. There actually is NO known safe exposure, the effects of all the xrays you have are cumulative, there’s a good chance that many thyroid cancers may be from failure to protect the thyroid during dental xrays. Use them judiciously.

      • M.sami says:

        Just because your dentist is careless and “lazy” it doesn’t mean all of them are. 15 x-rays for an RCT is way too much.

      • Ingrid says:

        My dentist took 20 Xrays for one root canal and then the tooth next to it started to crack apart very easily.

      • Nina moreno says:

        I am at senior and I had a root canal done almost 2 years and my cheek still keeps hurting and every time I go to a dentist the x-ray x-ray x-ray x-ray then I have seen about six different dentists in one week , I’ve seen three or 3 and every time I go t to different x-ray, and they’re still not sure why my cheek keeps hurtingin six months I’ve seen the six or five different dentist and every time I go they want their own x-rays they all want their own x-rays and I’m so scared about it ,still They cannotfind a problem why have the pain in the right cheek.

      • Glenn Christopher says:

        I’m 55 and went in with tooth and ear pain and after 5 or 6 x-rays right into my jaw to “see” the back tooth, they determined after looking it was a cracked filling so they said I need a crown since the tooth root looked good. The temp crown will not stay in so now for 3 days it’s been out and my jaw is killing me, along with my teeth on that side. I take 800mg of Iburphophen and that helps but when it wears off, I’m in pain. I feel the numerous Xrays all done within a few minutes is what is making my jaw hurt. My tooth hurt at first with and without the crown but now I’m used to no crown but my jaw hurts. I know there’s no Doctor I could go to to have it checked out since they might want to do an xrays. Ugh. I’m sorry you have pain in your right cheek.

      • M.sami says:

        In that case they should refer you to an oral medicine specialist. If there is any in your area.


Paul Taylor


Paul Taylor is a health journalist and former Patient Navigation Advisor at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, where he provided advice and answered questions from patients and their families. Paul will continue to write occasional columns for Healthy Debate.

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