Dental X-Rays: A Question from a Reader

Question from Reader:




I was wanting to ask you about (or rather how to) avoiding dentist x-rays.


I have been wanting to go have a dental check-up, but when I told my family dentist I didn’t want x-rays, he states under law he couldn’t do a dental check-up without taking x-rays.


I did some research and found that there is no such law/laws that require dentists to perform x-rays, but it appears that our family dentist is probably afraid of a possible lawsuit, and it appears the majority of dentists probably are, also, and would oppose refusing x-rays.


I called a local university department that deals with dentistry and was told only a “fool” would perform a dental check up without x-rays, seriously questioning any dentist that would allow no x-rays.


I want to avoid x-rays because of any possible harmful effects, and thought to ask somebody or some group that addresses and is active on dealing with the topic of radiation and it’s harmful effects.


I hope to hear from you and that you can provide the answer.


From the U.S.,




Answer from Katie Singer:


Dear R.G.,
As I understand, it is very difficult for a dentist to retain liability insurance unless they X-ray patients annually.

I know many dentists who provide a waiver that you can sign stating essentially that you freely elect not to be X-rayed, and that you will not hold them liable in the event that your health deteriorates and an X-ray could have alerted you earlier.  The dentist may want to meet and get to know you before offering such a waiver.

I have also heard from friendly dentists that such waivers tend not to hold up in court.  Our entire perspective on healthcare needs fresh looking.

Best of luck,
Katie Singer

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