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Do you believe everything you hear? Recently there has been a lot of talk about dental x-rays and thyroid cancer. As you know, Dr. Oz is a well known TV personality who many people look up to. They take his advice and recommendations seriously. Dr. Oz, who is not a dentist or radiologist along with a gynecologist shared with America that they believe dental x-rays are not necessary for proper dental treatment. That is far from the truth.

Dr. Oz was reporting his information from a study that was performed in Kuwait where there is already an unusually high incidence of thyroid cancer. The people were asked about dental x-rays they had over their lifetime without looking at any records. It was stated that the study “should be treated with caution because data was based on self-reporting by participants.” Also the data was based on traditional film x-rays which have more radiation exposure than digital x-rays.

Digital x-rays produce 2-3 mrems (a scientific unit used to measure radiation); flying from New York to LA gives you 5 mrems, one way. Are you going to cancel your next business trip? Sleeping next your spouse you get 2 mrems per year, even eating bananas gives you more mrems than a digital x-ray.

The truth is, dental x-rays are extremely important not just for your oral health but for your overall health. Patients ask us all the time if the x-rays are really necessary. The answer is they are essential in your treatment. Dr. Reinhart and Dr. Moore need to be able to see beyond what they can see with the naked eye. The x-rays make it possible to see if there is decay in-between your teeth that would not have been seen without an x-ray. Also looking at your bone health and if there is an infection is important to predict what type of treatment that tooth needs. Unhealthy gums and infections harbor bacteria that flow through your bloodstream that has been directly linked to heart attacks.

Looking at your mouth without x-rays would be like getting your hair done with your stylists’ eyes closed, you wouldn’t do that. Although dental x-rays are necessary once a year and with any toothache we understand your concerns and we do everything that we can to protect you, including using a lead apron for your body and neck even though it is not recommended American Dental Association anymore. If you have any extra concerns, let us know and we will do what we can to make you comfortable with your experience.

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