Happy Getting Back to Normal Month!

Sep 9, 2021 | Articles

Happy Getting Back to Normal Month!

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Our daughter just moved back to Georgia to start her senior year of college, and our son started his “Blacksmithing Bachelor’s degree” a couple of weeks ago. That’s our new normal, so we will see how it goes.

One topic that came up lately is the use of X-rays for diagnosing cavities we can’t see in the mouth. Cigna insurance recently published a questionnaire on their website about cavity risk and frequency for X-rays. I love that because it helps parents to see how we make a determination on the use of X-rays. Big Grins actually got audited by the big bruiser, Delta Dental Insurance, last year on the use of X-rays. We came through the audit in flying colors (after over 100 hours of submitting chart reviews) because we do a caries risk assessment of every kid every time they come in! That allows us to put the child on the correct frequency of X-rays based on their cavity risk.

Cavity risk is determined by the recent history of cavities, metabolic factors like saliva quality, a plaque index, or how much plaque and where kids have it, tooth anatomy and proximity, and gum health. The goal for kids up to about 14 years is X-rays only once a year, and for adolescents once every 18 months. The average cavity on a baby tooth can progress from the surface to the inside of the tooth in six months, so those with high risk get X-rays every six months. For adult teeth, that progression is usually one to two years. So that means for low-risk kids with both baby and permanent teeth it’s every 12 months and for all adult teeth every 18 months. Sounds complicated, but the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry has studied these averages and published X-ray recommendations. That’s what we follow.

So next time your family comes in if we don’t bring it up, ask about strategies to get your kiddos in the low-risk category for cavities. It’s a subject I can spend HOURS on if you would like! We love helping you raise healthy and happy kids, so email or call me for more information on this topic or another at Greg@gobiggrins.com or 970-481-6728. Have a great September!