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Old 03-14-2011, 01:51 AM   #21
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I am not a medical professional.
You can look up a professional journal's recommendations (at least as of 2006) here.
The use of dental radiographs: Update and recommendations -- American Dental Association Council on Scientific Affairs 137 (9): 1304 -- The Journal of the American Dental Association
There may be newer or more authoritative recommendations, I do not know. I tried to copy-paste the table here but wasn't smart enough to figure out how (it's in a pop-up).
As you can see from Table 1, different patient conditions are recommended to have different frequency of x-rays. I mentioned this to my dentist, and he admitted he just x-rayed everybody every exam, unless they objected.
I tend to bow to the judgment of educated professionals but they have to be able to justify themselves when I have a question. In my case, he admitted the recommendation was every other year for me, rather than the every year I would have gotten if I hadn't spoken up.
I have flown a lot. Radiation exposure is cumulative over a lifetime and more and more, medical science is recognizing that no amount of radiation is good for you, even if you are older (maybe especially if you are older). But having bad teeth or gums is a serious risk to your health.
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Old 03-14-2011, 02:22 AM   #22
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Thanks tffmc. I would fall into the 2 yr category on the chart. I've been getting x-ray'd every 12 - 18 months depending on exactly when I get into the dentist. I go about twice a year and they've been taking xrays on alternate visits. I'll discuss waiting longer with doc. Maybe every third visit....... or even fourth.
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Old 03-14-2011, 12:29 PM   #23
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Just make sure they put that lead apron on you, just in case you're pregnant and don't know it.

Amethyst

and be sure they use the neck apron, dental X-rays may increase risk of thyroid cancer. You should see the stats on how thyroid cancer is on the increase!
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Old 03-14-2011, 01:17 PM   #24
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I wouldn't trust what a dentist says about X-rays. They just don't know because it is likely they are just told by the manufacturer what "the truth" is.
<snip>
Maybe I can ask the dentists? Has your machine been calibrated? How do you know how many rems does it give out? Also, film is a notoriously bad X-ray detector. An imaging plate or CCD should allow 1/100th the dose of film.
Would you allow them to inject you with anesthetic and drill and fill and possibly extract but you don't trust what they say about X-rays?

Do you have a radiological background?
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Old 03-14-2011, 02:26 PM   #25
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Do you have a radiological background?
Yes. I repaired my first X-ray machine in 1977, but that is only a hint of what I know.
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Old 03-15-2011, 01:03 AM   #26
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Would you allow them to inject you with anesthetic and drill and fill and possibly extract but you don't trust what they say about X-rays?

Do you have a radiological background?
I also doubt he keeps up with biology and the effects of radiation like I do. My dentist has a life outside work (a vacation home in Las Vegas, for one) and although I respect his knowledge and ability to work on my teeth, I do not assume he knows everything I do about things outside dentistry.
I'm no expert, beyond my ancient biology education I just read the biological stuff from AAAS magazine, and not even every week. But from things he has said, I doubt he studies outside his immediate field.
I don't read every issue, it comes every week along with my Economist and I don't even have time to read both of them every week.
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Old 03-18-2011, 03:20 AM   #27
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One of my profs. in Health Physics had a theory that since humans developed in a certain background level of radiation, a low level of radiation was GOOD for us. He was totally serious. But that's another story.

The whole X-ray decision comes down to risk vs. benefit. We need to understand BOTH sides of this equation to make a decision. And we should be allowed to help make the decision. I tend not to believe anyone who tells me something is "safe" when i know that there is no such thing when talking about radiation. I think dentists and other health professionals just get tired of having the discussion with patients.
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Old 03-18-2011, 05:06 AM   #28
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One of my profs. in Health Physics had a theory that since humans developed in a certain background level of radiation, a low level of radiation was GOOD for us. He was totally serious. But that's another story.
He's not the only one with that idea. There've been studies showing that low levels of radiation boost the immune system, and possibly even prevent cancer.
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Old 03-18-2011, 06:56 AM   #29
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I wouldn't trust what a dentist says about X-rays. They just don't know because it is likely they are just told by the manufacturer what "the truth" is.

Sure, X-rays of teeth are beneficial, but there is no reason to go overboard on them. There is no safe dose of X-rays. One can only try to get as low as reasonably achievable. If a dentist or hospital has an old X-ray machine with scratches, dents, etc, then the dose you get may be unknown.

Maybe I can ask the dentists? Has your machine been calibrated? How do you know how many rems does it give out? Also, film is a notoriously bad X-ray detector. An imaging plate or CCD should allow 1/100th the dose of film.
This is how I see it. I may or may not get x-rays a given time, but I have turned down way more than I have accepted. Like you say, how many dentists are also physicists or experts in radiation and human health? And it goes down from the dentist. Ask the assistant and she will act like you forgot to zip your fly.

If doctors and dentists had 1/10 the consumer friendliness of a supermarket dealing with them would be a lot more pleasant .

Ha
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Old 03-19-2011, 07:25 PM   #30
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He's not the only one with that idea. There've been studies showing that low levels of radiation boost the immune system, and possibly even prevent cancer.
I would love to see a reference for the science on this. I googled this and found Ann Coulter. Ann Coulter is not a scientist. Her article did not give a single scientific reference.
But then I am not a professional scientist, either, it's just my avocation. References, please.
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Old 03-19-2011, 08:21 PM   #31
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I would love to see a reference for the science on this. I googled this and found Ann Coulter. Ann Coulter is not a scientist. Her article did not give a single scientific reference.
But then I am not a professional scientist, either, it's just my avocation. References, please.
Radiation hormesis - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Health and low-level radiation: turning good news ... [Health Phys. 1988] - PubMed result

The Cancer Risk From Low Level Radiation: A Review of Recent Evidence

http://www.ans.org/pi/ps/docs/ps41.pdf

Ann Coulter had something to say about radiation? What, that it gave her man hands?
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Old 03-19-2011, 09:43 PM   #32
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There've been studies showing that low levels of radiation boost the immune system, and possibly even prevent cancer.
And we shouldn't think only of ourselves. Higher radiation doses --> more mutations--> more rapid evolution (assuming progeny and given sufficient selective pressure).
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Old 03-19-2011, 09:59 PM   #33
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And we shouldn't think only of ourselves. Higher radiation doses --> more mutations--> more rapid evolution (assuming progeny and given sufficient selective pressure).
Well, heck, if my daughter volunteers for the submarine service too then she'll be way ahead of the species...
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Old 03-19-2011, 10:11 PM   #34
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Well, heck, if my daughter volunteers for the submarine service too then she'll be way ahead of the species...
As long as the hours she'll keep on a sub, she won't know it until they let her go.
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Old 03-19-2011, 10:44 PM   #35
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Thank you so much! I am humbled that you took the time.

The idea of people thinking that low level radiation is good for you (hormesis) is pretty much new to me. However, the articles you linked do not convince me of your argument - please tell me where I am wrong:

1. The Wiki article: "Consensus reports by the United
States National Research Council and the National Council
on Radiation Protection and Measurements and the United
Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic
Radiation (UNSCEAR) have upheld that insufficient human
data on radiation hormesis exists to supplant the Linear
no-threshold model (LNT). Therefore, the LNT continues to
be the model generally used by regulatory agencies for
human radiation exposure."
The Wiki does cite some papers purporting to show hormesis, but explains what their problems may be.
But to be fair, it does say there are studies underway to investigate whether there is a safe lower threshold of radiation exposure. And there have apparently been some cases of hormesis on non-human tissue in the laboratory.

2. The second link is only an abstract and I could not
figure out how to get the full text. But what I read from
the abstract is that this man, who works for GE, thinks the
public needs more information about radiation and that
small amounts are not as bad as big amounts. Nothing about
small amounts being GOOD for you. Just that diagnostic
tools might not HARM you.

3. The third link is an article from the Association of
American Physicians and Surgeons, and is titled as a review
of recent evidence. I couldn't get the tables to display,
but otherwise the entire article is there. His main supporting
evidence of hormesis is his own papers about radon
exposure, which are much older than anything cited in the
Wiki.

4. The last link is a 2001 position paper by the American Nuclear Society, saying that there is "insufficient evidence to support the use of the Linear No Threshold Hypothesis (LNTH) in the health effects of low level radiation", and more research needs to be done. Nothing about it being GOOD for you that I see.

Again, I'm no expert, I just read.
I'm not going to provide the link to the Coulter article supporting hormesis, because it would make me feel dirty. But when you find it, you will also find refutations from many people much more qualified than me.
Fascinating topic! Thank you, RetiredGypsy.
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Old 03-19-2011, 11:35 PM   #36
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Well, just goes to show you: don't ever, ever listen to anything I have to say. I can't even find where I got the information now anymore.
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Old 03-19-2011, 11:38 PM   #37
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Well, just goes to show you: don't ever, ever listen to anything I have to say. I can't even find where I got the information now anymore.
I personally never cease to be amazed at how little I know, myself. I really am grateful you brought this up, because I'd never heard of it myself.
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Old 03-28-2011, 10:48 AM   #38
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Ask if your dentist still uses the old-fashioned radiation x-rays (where the assistant has to leave the room)? Ours takes digital images with very low radiation. They still have me put on the metal suit but now they can stand beside you.

I've no problem getting xrays every year - it does spot decay before it gets to be a huge issue.
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Old 03-28-2011, 12:07 PM   #39
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And we shouldn't think only of ourselves. Higher radiation doses --> more mutations--> more rapid evolution (assuming progeny and given sufficient selective pressure).
Of course given the dysgenic breeding pressure in the modern western world it will just speed our descent.

Ha
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Old 03-28-2011, 12:43 PM   #40
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Well, I do think they can go overboard. I think I previously shared example where my daughter was having issues with teeth erupting and baby tooth staying. She had her regular cleaning and returned about one month later to check on the tooth. When we were at her follow up, they wanted to do xrays again. I said why are they necessary, she was just here one month ago. The assistant went into the shpeel on how harmless they are. I said no thank you, my daughter has had enough exposure (she had a ctscan earlier that year - that's enough for quite a while!). She gave up - later, dentist opened my daughter's mouth and said, "looks fine" let's wait on pulling...that was it. So yeah, I do think they take them unnecessarily and we should feel perfectly comfortable refusing them! Especially since lifetime accumulation is of concern - with the kids, let's not give them more than is absolutely necessary!
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