Individual x-rays of every tooth - not coned down to just that tooth

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May 15, 2023
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We moved to a different state so this was my first visit to this dentist. He took an x-ray of each tooth, so LOTS of x-rays. When he showed me the x-rays I could see manty surrounding teeth in the views so it seems I got sprayed with lots of x-rays. I am 70 years old. I have never gotten so many x-rays in a dental exam. Is there a reason for this? Thanks.
 

Dr M

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May 31, 2019
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Good day

It sounds like he did a full mouth exam with bite-wing x-rays and maybe some peri-apical x-rays for the anterior teeth. His reasoning could be that this was required due to it being the first time you saw him and he wanted to a thorough examination of your entire dentition. Subsequent visits should not include as many x-rays. In terms of radiation exposure, modern dental digital x-rays have a lot less harmful radiation than the older film x-rays.
 

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MattKW

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A full-mouth survey (FMS) using standard dental xrays seems to be a very US-thing to do and the total dosage is about 150mSv; I don't know why (anybody answer?).
In Australia, it would be reasonable for a new patient to take 2 standard xrays (bitewings, BWs) and an OPG (full mouth scan) from which I might then take another 1-2 separate periapical xrays (PA) totalling about 50mSv. For future check-ups taken 2-3 years later, you would only need 2-4 BWs at 10-20 mSv. And the OPG will show up a much wider field of the head and mouth than an FMS.
For comparison, a full chest Xray or a trans-Atlantic flight is about 30mSv.
This is micro-Sieverts, not milli-.
 

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