I’m very faithful at taking my children to the pediatric dentist. The problem I’m running into is I have three children and our pediatric dentist insists on doing x-rays at every appointment. First, I worry about that amount of radiation. Second, our dental insurance only covers it once a year. Is it really necessary to do it both times? I can’t always afford the cost. Can I request to just do it once a year?
We’ll cover the insurance issue first. Dental insurance companies do not look out for the best interest of the patient. They are more interested in paying for what is adequate rather than what is best. So, while getting x-rays once a year is the standard in some offices, it really depends on the child. Even pediatric dentists who generally prefer doing x-rays once a year will have some patients where they require them twice.
Why Require Extra X-Rays at the Pediatric Dentist
There are two general reasons why a pediatric dentist would require x-rays at every appointment. The first is if the family or child has a genetic predisposition to decay. In that case, it is much safer to do x-rays more often than to risk decay sneaking up. It is better for the child, the tooth, and your budget to catch it early and do a small filling than to have it grow unseen and then require a dental crown.
Another reason would be if you have some decay the dentist is just watching. They are trying to make sure it doesn’t start growing toward the pulp requiring a pulpotomy.
Radiation and Dental X-Rays
One thing which should make you feel a bit better is dentists use digital x-rays. These carry far less radiation than traditional film x-rays. It exposes your children to no more radiation than if they stood outside in the sun for a few moments.
Dealing with the Cost of Multiple X-Rays
If your children aren’t in one of the two categories mentioned above, which justifies requiring x-rays at each appointment, then you can request to have them only once a year. If they say no even after you explain your financial situation, it may be time to switch to a more affordable dentist who understands budget constraints.
This blog is brought to you by Auburn Family Dentist Dr. Raymond Bolt.