Dental Radiation and Use of X-rays

January 2, 2015

There are questions that we get all the time. One of them is without a doubt about the use of radiation (x-rays). I thought it might be helpful to post what my position is as well as some text from dental school and the recommended guidelines of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry so if there are concerns before the appointment, parents can come with some initial answers.

In healthcare, whether medicine or dentistry, providers routinely use thoughtful and careful consideration of the benefits and risks of just about everything they do.  Our team at GKD has full faith that the benefits of using radiation as a diagnostic tool far out-weigh the risks. Without them, we simply would not be able to provide the appropriate care our patients deserve from their health care provider.  Please consider that everyone in our office is a caring individual, many with kids of our own, and we would never recommend any treatment (that was knowingly, that we believe to be) we thought was harmful or inappropriate for your child.  Using x-rays as a diagnostic tool is not a reckless, irresponsible, or maverick practice.  It is the only diagnostic tool available to the profession for detecting the most common and significant types of dental disease.  There simply is no alternative diagnostic tool.  To give an example, if a child had sustained an injury to an arm or leg, but the only way to determine for sure whether it was a fractured bone, I strongly believe that a parent wouldn’t refuse to have an x-ray examination in that situation.  There is no difference in the diagnostic importance between that and dental x-rays to detect dental disease. , in a careful and thoughtful manner,

There is also a moral, ethical, and ultimately, legal obligation to consider with the use of dental X-rays. Using x-rays as a diagnostic tool is a standard of care in the dental profession, and without them, I am not able to provide that expected minimum standard.  For that reason, I am professionally obligated to use them in my practice.  If I am not providing the minimum standard of care, even if it is at the request of a parent or guardian, I am ultimately responsible for any consequences that may arise as a result of not providing that expected standard.  This puts your child, and the thousands of others that we care for at Greenlake Kids Dentistry at risk.  For this reason, if you are unwilling to accept this standard of care, we ask that you please seek care from another provider that is willing to practice sub-standard dentistry, leaving our services availabile to those that are seeking appropriate care for their children.