Good vs. Bad Dentistry. Part 4. X-rays and Photos

Many dental patients are needlessly exposed to an excessive amount of x-rays and an inadequate amount of photo documentation.

Hi this is Dr. Jeff Dorfman at The Center for Special Dentistry in New York talking about 12 ways people can learn to differentiate good from bad dentistry and good from bad dentists. What I’ll be discussing now is imaging. Imaging describes x-rays and photography. It is very important that people recognize that for many of them who go to see a managed care dentist, that these dentists are not getting paid enough money to cover cleanings and checkups, and for that reason a lot of dentists are allowed by the insurance plans to take x-rays every six months, which in the vast majority of cases is over-radiating patients completely unnecessarily for purely financial gain. Don’t do it unless there is a specific reason for it. In addition, in this practice we will only take check-up x-rays (that’s about four x-rays) maybe about every year and a half or two years unless there is a specific reason to do otherwise. We may take a full set of x-rays once every three to five years. This is really not very frequent at all—don’t let it happen to you. Another thing to be aware of besides imaging is also photography. Do you find that the dentist is willing to photo-document step by step the dentistry they perform, and that they can show it and display it proudly of what they did, how they did it, why they did it that day—if they cannot photo-document the before, during and after of what they’ve done for you, you should question it. The dentist should also be willing to email it to you, proud of the work that they did. One other important issue regarding x-rays is you want to discover when x-rays are being taken, who ordered the x-rays to be taken. It should not be ordered by a staff person or an office manager working in a practice where there is an absentee dentist owner who is uninvolved, and the decision is purely made for financial reasons. A dentist should be able to give a specific reason why x-rays need to be taken. Be careful, it’s your body. This is Dr. Jeff Dorfman The Center for Special Dentistry in New York City.