Take an x-ray. Please!

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Dr Mark Hassed

As I travel around dental practices I observe a consistent and very common problem.

Without any doubt in my mind, the most common, preventable cause of mistakes in dentistry is failure to take an x-ray. In particular, a well exposed periapical.

Some typical examples of mistakes I’ve seen:

  • A crown made on a tooth with a large periapical area associated with a failing root filling
  • A dentist starting a root filling on an unsavable tooth
  • A patient who was treated for 5 visits for TMJ problems when they had a carious pulp exposure on a lower molar
  • A dentist filling the mesial of a tooth and missing decay on the distal of the same tooth

Taking an x-ray is of benefit to all concerned Рyou avoid errors, you locate problems, you foresee difficulties and you get paid for taking it. What a win-win. You earn more money and the patient gets higher quality treatment.

My rule is that I would never work on (or extract) any tooth if I didn’t have a current periapical film of that tooth.

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