New patient radiographic exams

Imagine a new patient is coming to your practice today.  Do you have a preset radiographic exam you give every patient or do you evaluate the patient and determine what radiographs to order? Each office I’ve talked to is a little different in this.  While some offices prefer to order a complete mouth series or a pantomograph and bitewings on all new patients, other offices will prefer to evaluate the mouth and take radiographs as necessary.

Ordering radiographs for a new patient is a difficult thing for new students to learn.  That is why we teach them the FDA/ADA guidelines for prescribing dental radiographs. (Love that they use proper terminology). It was revised in 2004 and includes a chart to follow (as a guideline) to determine which radiographs to order for not only new patients but returning patients as well.

This guideline looks at patient age and dentition (is it a primary dentition, mixed or adult dentition).  It also evalutes oral hygiene (does the patient have good oral hygiene or are there rampant caries present).  While this is merely a guideline to follow it never hurts to check it out.  See if your office is closely following the guidelines or not.  If you like the guidelines, try incorporating them into your day at the office.  If you find the guidelines helpful or your office prefers it’s method, please let me know.  Thanks.


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