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Dental Group News ReviewsLEAVE REVIEW FOR BUSINESS
Stephen C. Ellen
My visit today to Great Meadows Dental Group was a mixed bag. While the hygienist Niki was lovely (and gentle), the new dentist Whitney B. Cramer, DMD was a piece of work. She stated it was "illegal" for me to defer X-Rays as part of my treatment at this practice. When I questioned this, she changed her claim that it was "illegal" for her if I deferred X-Rays. She then claimed that I would be "discharged" as a patient if I refused her recommendations. She suggested I ask my family members who are dentists (I have 3 dentists in my family and all said deferring X-Rays was not "illegal" and that Dr. Kramer was being unreasonable. They had never encountered this in their own practices). She also suggested I "Google" this to verify she was correct. So I did:
"The frequency of needing dental X-rays depends on your dental health status. To guide dentists and limit the amount of radiation to which patients are exposed, the American Dental Association (ADA) says in their 2012 recommendations that dentists should always perform a clinical examination and evaluate a person's oral and medical history before taking any X-rays, and that the guidelines are subject to the treating dentist's clinical judgment-in short, determining the need for X-rays before taking them. If you have a history of extensive decay or periodontal problems, for example, your dentist may suggest taking X-rays more often than someone who doesn't. And because of their developing teeth and jaws, children may need X-rays more often than adults. Paul Manos, DDS, Dental Director for United Concordia Dental in California, adds: "The types of X-rays to take, as well as how often and how many, should be based on the individual clinical needs of the patient, as determined by the treating dentist. One size does not fit all when it comes to dental X-rays." The ADA recommendation for a posterior bitewing exam for an adult with decay present and an increased risk for cavities is every six to 12 months, whereas someone with no decay or increased risk may be able to go as long as two to three years between having X-rays taken."
The issue I have with Dr. Kramer is that there was no offer to discuss my concerns regarding radiation exposure. I am a physician and graduate of Harvard Medical School. My father (who is a dentist) battled thyroid cancer, possibly induced by years of radiation exposure as a practicing dentist. She was concrete, dogmatic, and rigid. She clearly did not think I would "Google" her claim that refusing annual X-Rays was "illegal". While she, like all dentists, does maintain some general liability for not recommending X-Rays if there is a bad outcome in treatment, she left out the fact that she could simply document her recommendations and my refusal in my chart, and cover her liability completely. Her tone indicated that she was used to compliant, unquestioning patients, and that she was not prepared to engage in a thoughtful discussion regarding the risks and benefits of dental X-Rays. She was clearly not prepared to respect my request to defer them to every 2-3 years, something every other dentist has done throughout my lifetime of dental care.
Since Dr. Kramer already threatened my "discharge" from the practice, I will beat her to the punch. I had been considering moving to the Jessica Ristuccia, DMD at Drum Hill Dental (she was my former dentist at Great Meadows) for some time now. I will move my treatment and chart tomorrow. Dr. Kramer made my decision easy.