Saturday, April 26, 2008

"X" is for "X-Ray"

I had a dental appointment last week, and I have to say that I was surprised that they wanted to take x-rays when they had taken them only 6 months ago at my last visit. Apparently, it is now the standard practice at this dental office to x-ray every 6 months.

Does that not sit well with anyone else?

Growing up, once a year x-rays were taken as a standard practice, and uncomfortable as they were, I did it. However, as I got older and my dermatologist noted what sensitive skin I have, he recommended that I get as little radiation as possible, from the sun and also from x-rays. X-rays can also do damage to sun-sensitive skin. So I've made it my practice since then only to have my mouth x-rayed when absolutely necessary.

Six months ago, I had two fillings, so I went ahead and let them x-ray me today. When I expressed my concern to the dental hygienist, she told me that the amount of radiation I get from an x-ray is less than I get watching television and similar to what I would get standing in front of the microwave oven. The thing is that I am one of those people who leaves the kitchen when I run the microwave because I don't know what is being released in the way of radiation. My big question, though, is this: If getting my mouth x-rayed is no more dangerous than being in the same room with my television on, why in the world do they feel the need to throw a lead covering on me, tell me to keep my hands under it, to be sure to close my eyes, and then they leave the room to take the picture.

People, something isn't adding up. And next time, I'm not going to forgo the x-rays all together. I am a big believer in listening to the doctors, but I'm an even bigger believer in listening to my body and to myself. I didn't feel good about having my mouth x-rayed today, even though I let it happen. Next time? I'm stating what I want and I won't be swayed by some kind of logic that just doesn't add up.


Mrs. G. said...

Really good point about the lead apron. I'm skeptical.

J at said...

Yeah, sometimes when you're there at the time, you're willing to go along with it, but then later you think about it and say, um, no.

I don't know about you, but my insurance will only pay for one x-ray a year, unless the second is medically necessary. So they may stick you with a bill. Grrr. I wonder if you could fight it, if they do, saying you didn't want the darned thing anyway?

Starshine said...

J, they told me that my insurance pays for 2 a year. If I get stuck with a bill, I won't be happy. Grrr, indeed.

Cherry said...

I never thought of the radiation effecting the skin but that makes so much sense! What if you used sunscreen before the x-ray, is that any better?

I've never thought of refusing a procedure a doctor recommended until I was dealing with all of that stuff last year. And even though I hemmed and hawed, I still did what they suggested.