Help! I think my dentist overdoes it on X-rays

Published: May 23, 2015 08:00 AM
Illustration: Kelsey Dake

Q. The surprising dangers of CT scans and X-rays" led me to review the schedule of my own dental X-rays. On a recent visit I declined them, and the office manager said that I couldn’t have my teeth cleaned because it’s against the law for them to treat me. (The Georgia Dental Association told me that it’s not against the law, but that the dentist has the right to not treat me.) I want a dentist who will treat me without frequent X-rays. Any advice?—P.B., via e-mail

A. If you’re otherwise happy with your current dentist, talk with him or her first, says Jay W. Friedman, D.D.S., M.P.H., a consumer health care advocate and dental adviser to Consumer Reports. Share your concerns and underscore the fact that the American Dental Association (ADA) doesn’t recommend X-rays at every visit. (You can also offer to sign a waiver on the X-rays.) If the dentist insists, you should look for another one who’s sympathetic to your concerns. The ADA’s list, at, is a good place to start. Finding one shouldn’t be hard: More dentists now take a flexible approach to scheduling X-rays. And ask your new dentist to contact your old one for copies of your prior X-rays.

Read "The Surprising Dangers of CT Scans and X-rays" and watch our video below.

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Editor's Note:

This article also appeared in the July 2015 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.

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