Boston-area dentist who doesn't insist on x-rays?
April 26, 2010 8:19 PM   Subscribe

Boston-area dentist who doesn't insist on x-rays?

I'm convinced that dental x-rays are often nothing more than a revenue generation tool for dentists. I'm 35, have healthy teeth and gums, and have never had anything diagnosed via an x-ray that was not also apparent by a gross examination.

I'm not opposed to getting zapped when there's a problem that needs to be looked into further, but the normal routine of bite wings every year or two and a full set of x-rays every five years seems pointless and potentially even a little bit risky to me. Please don't comment on the risk unless you've thoroughly researched this issue.

I'm wondering if anyone has had any luck finding a dentist in the Boston area who doesn't insist on x-rays at regular intervals, when there are no problems. I've gotten my dentist down to bite wings every 2.5 years, but he still insists on a full set of x-rays every five. After he looked at them for about 10 seconds, the last time I had them, I decided that I really need to look for alternatives. Thanks!
posted by underdetermined to Health & Fitness (7 answers total)
Have you tried simply asking?
posted by schmod at 8:23 PM on April 26, 2010

I've objected to x-rays for the past 5 years. The dentist still examines my teeth visually and palpates them. Then he admonishes me for not letting him do his due diligence and has me sign a little form stating that I was advised to get x-rays, but declined.

I've done this with two different dentists, and neither really batted an eyelash.
posted by 517 at 8:27 PM on April 26, 2010

My dentist wasn't ready to give up my business over the whole x-ray thing. He tried to strong arm me but I just said no for "personal reasons that I don't care to discuss". He said, "just as long as you understand that I can't be held responsible for any decay between your teeth or blah-de-blah...". That was it. I'd gotten all worked up about it and it amounted to nothing.
posted by bonobothegreat at 8:31 PM on April 26, 2010

My dentist (J Jireh Dental Clinic in New London CT) uses digital x rays which are supposed to be really really low dose x rays. She has caught a couple of small problems with my teeth that weren't apparent just by looking at the teeth so fixing the problems were much simpler than waiting until I needed a root canal or some other major fix. Here's some info on digital x rays.
posted by MsKim at 9:21 PM on April 26, 2010

I had a dentist who did not insist on x-rays for two years when I was broke and visually inspected them instead. The next dental visit, I had a mouth full of cavities between my teeth.

Seconding digital x-rays, though. I've had those done since and they're a breeze and supposedly much safer.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:33 PM on April 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

No matter what the question about dentists in Boston is, the answer is always, always Casey Cook at Davis Sq Dental. I swear, this man is a Dental Bodhisattva. I hatehatehate going to the dentist, but this guy is both a really good dentist and really good at putting people at ease.

The reason I'm recommending him in this case is that the years I went to see him, I was a broke grad student without insurance. He always made sure to do things as cheaply as possible while still ensuring quality care. He probably will work with you on the X-ray thing - although to be honest, sometimes you really just do need an x-ray.
posted by wholebroad at 10:18 PM on April 26, 2010 [2 favorites]

I have to agree with PhoBWan about the cavities. I had the gag reflex from hell that prevented them from being done very well/at all on me for years, and ended up with a root canal. So.... yeah, the 'tude you've got about this is pretty overblown. They're doing it for good reasons. (And this is coming from someone who hates the things too.)
posted by jenfullmoon at 12:45 PM on April 27, 2010

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