Imaging Insider: How to respond when a patient refuses radiographs

Dear Imaging Insider,

Before, during, and after a pandemic, there will be dental patients who don't want to have x-rays taken at your dental practice. Some are worried about the radiation exposure. Some are worried about cost. Some simply think the process is uncomfortable.

What do you do and say when a patient says no to radiographs? In our new Insider Exclusive, Tameka Schley Lee, RDH, BSDH, gives her advice and some wording that can be useful when the situation presents itself in your practice in 2021 and beyond.

Our Imaging Community also includes a great chance to look back at the five most-read imaging articles of 2020. Last year, imaging assisted in everything from identifying rare dental anomalies to helping remove a swallowed dental needle.

Finally, a panoramic x-ray scan revealed bilateral osteolytic lesions in a man's jaw, leading to the diagnosis and treatment of the rare condition Langerhans cell histiocytosis. An x-ray of the man's mouth taken a couple of years earlier did not show any aggressive alveolar bone destruction or bone loss. However, the most recent x-ray showed geographic bony destruction of the upper jaw and both sides of the lower jaw "with the teeth appearing to float," highlighting the need to perform these routine scans on patients, the authors noted in a fascinating case report.

Thank you for being an Imaging Insider! We wish you and your practice a fantastic start to 2021!

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