Frequently Asked Questions
- Why do I need these x-rays?
- What is the difference between these x-rays and the ones the dentist takes?
- Will I need to come back again?
- How and when will my doctor get the results?
- Are these x-rays safe?
- How much x-ray exposure do I receive?
- Will you bill my insurance?
- Why is this procedure so expensive?
- Do I have to schedule an appointment?
1.) Why do I need these x-rays?
X-rays and photographs are an important part of your treatment. Whether you are beginning treatment, finishing, or a "work in progress," these records help your doctor visualize parts of your anatomy that can't be seen with the naked eye. The x-rays will show the bones of the jaw and face, the roots of the teeth, and many other hard tissue structures of the head and neck. The photographs show soft tissue aspects of the patient's anatomy that can't be visualized in the x-rays. Together, they provide part of what your doctor needs to properly diagnose and treat you. These records, combined with your personal health history, study models, and your doctor's expertise, help assure that you receive proper care and follow up.
2.) What is the difference between these x-rays and the ones the dentist takes?
Some of the procedures provided by our lab are very similar to the ones available at your dentist's office. While we use different equipment and techniques, the result is essentially the same. The primary difference is in the areas of interest. Often your dentist is most interested in the crowns of the teeth and is looking for cavities that need attention. The orthodontist on the other hand, is more interested in the roots of the teeth and the bone supporting the teeth. A good set of x-rays will show all areas well. Our goal is to provide high quality x-rays that can be used by both of these specialists. Besides conventional dental x-rays, we also provide a variety of procedures that are not readily available outside a dental x-ray lab, including Cone Beam Volume Scans which provide 3D visualization of your maxillofacial anatomy. These include panoramic views, various skull views, color photographs, and a number of other special procedures. Many of these procedures are so specialized that it would be far too costly for your doctor to own and operate the equipment in their office. Consequently, we can provide your doctor the exact procedures needed at a much lower cost to you. The fact that you were referred to us shows the high regard your doctor has for your health care as well as your finances.
3.) Will I need to come back again?
X-rays will be processed and checked before you are dismissed from the lab. This ensures that all procedures have been done correctly and takes only a few minutes. Depending on your stage of treatment, your doctor may request additional films after reviewing the records and evaluating your progress.
4.) How and when will my doctor get the results?
In most cases, when you are dismissed from the lab, your records are only partially complete. Photographs are processed and printed, some x-rays are mounted and labeled while others need a computer analysis performed on them. After putting the final finishing touches on your records, the whole case is rechecked before being delivered to your doctor. With only rare exceptions, your records will be in your doctor's office within one week and often in just a few days.
5.) Are these x-rays safe?
As in many areas of our lives, there is a certain risk involved with x-rays. Your doctor has decided that the benefit of having these x-rays far outweighs the risk. While dental x-rays involve very low doses of radiation, there are several things that we do to further reduce the dose. These include using the fastest film available, properly processing the films, adequate collimation and shielding, proper maintenance of equipment, and above all, the correct and appropriate performance of the procedures by competent, licensed personnel. Digital x-rays reduce the amount of radiation to the patient by up to 80%! We sincerely believe that no office or lab can provide you a safer set of x-rays!
6.) How much x-ray exposure do I receive?
Attempting to express x-ray dose in a meaningful measurement is very difficult. X-rays can be measured at the point of entry (skin dose), within the exposed tissues (absorbed dose), or distributed over the whole body (effective or equivalent dose). The effective dose is often the easiest to understand because it compares x-ray dose to the equivalent background exposure that we receive from our everyday environment. During a typical orthodontic x-ray series, your exposure will equal approximately 1˝ days of background equivalent exposure. A Cone Beam Volume Scan has less radiation than one panoramic x-ray and provides 360 degrees of data of the entire head! As you can see, even the most comprehensive series of x-rays results in a relatively insignificant exposure to the patient.
7.) Will you bill my insurance?
We ask that your procedures be paid for in full at the time they are taken. Insurance companies will not reimburse us for our services because we are not network providers. You may file on your own for any possible reimbursement, or your referring doctor may file the work you had done in our center with your other case work. Please contact your insurance carrier for coverage information.
8.) Why is this procedure so expensive?
The Cone Beam Volume Scan is brand new technology that provides CT-scan quality images for lower radiation and lower cost than typical CT scans. The imaging software, printers, and the machine itself are all very expensive to own and operate, and the scans require a great deal of expertise and time to work up and prepare for your doctor. You can feel confident that your doctor is receiving the most thorough set of images available at a competitive price to diagnose and treat you for your individual needs.
9.) Do I have to schedule an appointment?
We ask that you please call our office to schedule an appointment. We will do our best to work with your schedule and ours to make your visit as convenient as possible. Contact us