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Letters: Defending use of radiographs

December 07, 2015 There was a recent letter (“United Concordia Policy,” Oct. 5 ADA News) addressing the memo from United Concordia that they need a narrative when submitting for a radiograph. Recently, insurance carriers have changed their benefits for full mouth radiographs from three years to five years. I am now entering my 37th year in this wonderful field of dentistry and still cannot figure out how we are able to diagnosis dental disease, that is, caries, periodontal disease, periapical lesions, cysts, etc., without the use of radiographs. (Unfortunately, we are not Superman with X-ray vision.) Sure you can say we don’t want to “overexpose” our patients, but study after study shows the amount of radiation is negligible. The benefits far outweigh any risk. I ask anyone who has practiced dentistry, how many times do we do a clinical/visual exam but find nothing and only to find a large carious lesion, failing endodontic therapy or increasing bone loss when we do a “routine” full mouth series? The one thing I don’t want to do is miss a problem because “the insurance company limits full mouth radiographs to once every five years.” That is still malpractice. 

Marc Goldman, D.D.S.
Millburn, New Jersey