Does anyone else have a problem with Dental X-Rays?

Judith

I am wondering if it's just me or if anyone else has a problem with dental x-rays. I don't remember having this problem when I was a young and had the x-rays every 6 months. Back then, I don't remember them puting those big plastic things with the big, uncomfortable x-ray film in my mouth. I have a small mouth and the big plastic thing with the x-ray film is just too big for my mouth. I end up feeling like I am being smothered with the big plastic thing and the x-ray film being shoved down my throat and then having to bite down on it while it is cutting the tender place under my tongue, not to mention that the thing also gags me and I just hate it and can hardly stand it. The woman in the dentist's office seems to think that I just want to be a difficult patient but she is quite rough in the way she puts the thing in my mouth and I really feel like I am being smothered. Is is just me or does anyone else have a problem with this? I asked one of my co-workers and she just shrugged and said it didn't bother her, but her mouth is bigger than mine, really it is.

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Star58

Boy, can I relate, Judith. I'm not small anywhere but my
mouth! The x-ray film frames are a literal pain. Don't
know how to get around them, but you might tell your
dentist. Sometimes the assistants or even the dentist
don't understand someone else's circumstances. If they
show a little sympathy, it seems to help somewhat. Haven't
been much help, probably, but I hope you at least get
someone who works quickly. Good luck in the future.

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trekaren

Judith,
Keep running into you! Hope you don't mind --- this is a GREAT question! I also have a small mouth. When I ask (and frankly at some dentists I have to insist), they will use the smaller plastich thingies.

The denstists seem to be more pushy and won't do it unless you insist. An Endodontist (sp?) doing a root canal one time told me that the smaller plastic thingies were available because a lot of adults have small mouths.

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lindac

yes there is a minor discomfort....but it's no biggie.....lasts for less than 20 seconds.....and I can stand that.
Linda C

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trekaren

Lindac, if yours is 'no biggie', then you don't have the problem we seem to have.

It is not a matter of standing minor discomfort for 20 seconds. Until you have had the problem, you can't understand.

And I thought I would just have to stand the pain, until my dear endodontist told me that they have small sized plastic holders.

My mouth is so small that as a child I didn't have room for all my teeth and had to have my palate widened. As an adult, my wisdom teeth had to be chipped out because they had grown up into the jawbone for lack of room.

My daughter is going to have to have the same thing, according to her dentist.

Those plastic X-ray holders are not just uncomfortable, but actually very painful in a very small mouth.

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Judith

Well said, TREKaren. If having the x-rays is only a minor discomfort, then that person doesn't have a small mouth. I am not talking of a minor discomfort. I am talking about a lot of pain, feeling like I am being smothered and sometimes gagging. The woman who does the x-rays for my dentist is slow and clumsy putting the contraption in my mouth and shoves it in and back several times while I am in a lot of discomfort. Then she has to look at it a while to be sure it's in the right place and it usually isn't so that she has to do it all over again. Actual discomfort time, it seems like forever, but probably only about a minute for each x-ray. I am glad to know that there are smaller plastic holders for the x-ray film. No one ever told me that, certainly my dentist's office never told me there were smaller ones. I will be sure to ask about it next time. Thanks for mentioning it.

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puddlejumper

Judith,

I have this problem too. I gag and gag and the bitewings cut into my gum or at least feel like they are cutting. The smaller holders are a great idea! One more thing - the very instant I hear that the xray machine click or whatever it does to indicate that xray is finished, I take the film out of my mouth. I don't wait for the hygienist/tech to come back into the room.

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Cara_6

I have the same problem, and the last time the hygenist took x-rays of the back teeth, it hurt quite abit.
Now, when I go for a cleaning, I tell them outright..NO x-rays and why (the last time they cut my soft tissue)
If I think I have a problem, then I'll let them x-ray., so it's good to know they have a smaller holder they could use.

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liketolearn

Same small mouth problem. I always request that they use pediatric x-ray film & clips since my mouth is small. Actually one of the hygentist first suggested and started using them when it was such a problem with the adult size. It hurts me less and makes it easier for them to get the x-ray in the correct position.

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lazy_gardens

"The woman who does the x-rays for my dentist is slow and clumsy putting the contraption in my mouth and shoves it in and back several times while I am in a lot of discomfort. Then she has to look at it a while to be sure it's in the right place and it usually isn't so that she has to do it all over again."
If you don't lkike the way the tech acts, TELL THE DENTIST. If she is slow, clumsy, and unsympathetic ... he NEEDS to know. She needs to be retrained.

I'm assertive when it comes to medical treatment - I'm paying the bills, I get to critique the technique.

There are several sizes of film carriers - tell her to try one size smaller. Don't ask "if", tell her to make sure shegets one size smaller for you and spiut the danged thing out if it's too large. Or bite her when she tries to adjust it ... if you snap your jaws shut the instant the tech says "bite down" you can usually get them.

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alisande

You'd think with all the advances in modern dentistry they'd have come up with something more comfortable by now!

Susan
PS: I'm 100% behind Lazygardens' approach!

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heather_on

I have a small mouth too and always hated xrays being taken. I thought I was the only one that was terrified of them. Thanks for bringing this topic up - it's good to see I am not alone with my feelings.

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joann23456

I'm glad to hear about this, too. When I was young, my orthodontist realized I wouldn't have room in my mouth for all the usual teeth, so I had four teeth pulled early on to make room for the others.

I always gag when they do the X-rays. They're always uncomfortable, but I don't put up with real pain - I just spit them out and tell them it hurts too much. And I do the same as Puddlejumper - spit them out as soon as I hear the machine go off.

It never occurred to me to ask for something smaller. You can bet I'll be asking for the pediatric film next time!

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gooseberry_guy

Hi all,

This is the first time I have been to this health forum, and found this one post from long ago.

I can't believe no one has mentioned asking the dentist to use nitrous (happy gas) while taking X-rays. I have a major gag reflex and was always a dental phobic. The only way anything could be jammed into the back of my mouth was if I was on the gas. Even major work like drilling and filling was much more easily tolerated.

Like everything else, some people can be helped by it and others can't. My wife is one who doesn't care for it, so she just has to put up with being totally awake and alert when she has work done. (Ouch)

GG

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Judith

Thank you for all of your replies. My dentist's office does not use nitrous oxide and they told me that they don't have any smaller film holders. I wonder what they use on small children. The last time I had to have the x-rays for a root canal on a molar last November it was awful. The dental assistant who was taking the x-rays was worse, if possible, than the other one. The holder was large and I asked if she had a smaller one and she said they didn't. Then she said that she knew what to do and took a box of salt and poured it in my mouth and inserted the big holder. That was worse. I don't know what the salt was supposed to do. Another dental assistant was waiting with her patient for an x-ray and she asked the one doing my x-ray if the holder was gagging me and the one doing my x-ray said, "no, she just doesn't want it in her mouth, it's not gagging her." I told her that it certainly was gagging me and I don't know why she didn't think that it was. When the x-ray was finally over, I told the man waiting for his x-ray that I hoped it went better than mine and he looked like he would rather not have one at all. There is some sort of a panoramic x-ray machine and I wonder how that works. For several years when I was a teenager, I had dental x-rays every 6 months and I don't remember it being like it is now and I don't remember any large plastic contraption to hold the film. And, to top it off, I don't think the dentist did the root canal correctly. It was a long drawn out process that took over a month and 4 or 5 awful appointments before he finished and the tooth still has feeling in it. I am due to go back but have cancelled my last appointment.

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gooseberry_guy

Judith,

From the way you describe your experience with your dentist,I don't think I would take a dead dog there.

I lived in the Detroit area until I was 30, and moved about 5 hours north, some 20 years ago. I had a lot of work done by a young dentist who maintained my teeth for about 5 years before I moved. I found another dentist near my new home that I think I went to only once and really didn't care for. I decided that going back to my original dentist was the best thing to do, even though the convenience was lacking due to the distance, and especially if any emergencies came up. I thought that I was unusual having to travel so far to him, but he told me he had one patient that moved to Hawaii, but still came back to him for his care.

Over the years, he has had a lot of different hygienists working for him, so not every visit for a check-up and X-rays was enjoyable(?) If there was anything that I thought was a problem with the way any of the hygienists were working on me, I would let the dentist know. I do remember one girl that he had that was totally unskilled for what she was doing, and I found out from him that she was just there for that one day because the regular person had been sick and he got her from some dental temp agency.

I don't know what you have in your area for dental health care, but I would make an effort to ask other people if they have a dentist that they think is doing a good job and they are happy with. There should be no reason to put up with 18th century dental care. A dentist that doesn't offer or use the latest technology probably doesn't know the proper procedures to do correct dental work. And nitrous has been around for over 100 years.

By the way, my dentist charges me $15 for nitrous. He probably shouldn't charge anything since it makes it easier for him to work in there.

GG

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leel

That large plastic contraption you mention saves using your fingers to hold the xray film in place,and thus saving your fingers from exposure to the x-rays.

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downsouth

Judith, my most current experience was terrible and I have a small mouth as well. One of the dentists in the current practice where I had my dental work done left to start his own practice. I followed him to his new office and became his new "victim". When the girl did the x-rays last month, she warned me that it was going to hurt and she apologized to me. I have never been "hurt" before just from having x-ray film put in my mouth. Some of them are very uncomfortable, but HURT??? I just thought "sure", was nonchalant and shrugged it off until she put those things in my mouth and it did hurt, very much. She told me they "wrapped them in tape" to try and lessen the pain for their patients.

For this same reason, I am switching dentists and going to my husband's new dental practice, which I should have done from the start. Their equipment and office are more up to date. I am calling in the morning and requesting that my x-rays be sent to this other dental office. I would suggest you find another dentist.

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Lynne_SJO

Some patients do have a strong gag reflex and this really does make taking x-rays difficult. I do find the stories here distressing, as a hygienist with 30 years of clinical experience, 23 of which were specializing in pediatrics. As to the pain aspect, I always bent the heck out of the film to make it softer, expecially at the corners. Working in pediatrics (and being the daughter of a pediatric dentist) has made me a strong believer in the golden rule (treat your patients as you would want to be treated).

For a true gagger (where this is a physical reflex and is not anxiety related), sometimes having the patient lick a small amount of table salt prior to having the x-rays will help. Here are some other comments:

-dental disease is almost always chronic in nature (i.e.,developes slowly over a long period of time). The exception to this would be endodontic problems (abscesses), which can be acute

-based on the most recent CDC health/risk assessments, routine dental x-rays (bitewings) should only be done once every 18-24 months in the typical healthy adult patient. For children, they are recommended more frequently, since they tend to have higher and more rapid decay rates.

-There are work-arounds to periapical x-rays (the ones placed in the stiff plastic holders). Next time you are due for a full-mouth series (should only be done every 5-6 years), ask them to take a panorex instead. For this type of x-ray, you don't need anything in your mouth and it shows the entire mouth on one large film. It does have limitations, since it does not contain the detail that bite wings and periapicals do. Therefore, it is not a good way to diagnose decay, but it does a pretty good job of providing a high-level overview of your general oral condition.

-I have seen Nitrous Oxide used to reduce fear and gagging prior to taking x-rays on young children, but this is rare, since the Nitrous is often in rooms that do not contain x-ray equipment. When used, you actually have to administer the Nitrous until it takes effect, and then take the mask off termporarily in order to get the x-rays. This is cumbersome to say the least and also not all dentists use Nitrous. I am a big believer in the value of Nitrous and I find it hard to understand why all dentists don't use it. In pediatrics, we used it for ALL patients undergoing restorative work. I think those dentists that don't use it are either too old and set in their ways (though it has been in wide use in dentistry since the 1960's) or don't want to pay the added insurance premium.

-Keep in mind that some providers are overly agressive in the x-ray department due to their concern about liability and wanting to document everything for their own protection.

Lynne

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gardengardengardenga

why are they still using xrays...wish they would use somethng else like ultrasound or something that was more wholestic.

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Lynne_SJO

There is no such thing as ultrasound for detecting and diagnosing dental disease, though the industry is working on developing x-ray imaging equipment. It is available but very expensive, though this is probably the way of the future. Dentists and hygienists are not taking x-rays for the fun of it, they are taking them as an important diagnostic tool. Also, just because something is "wholestic" whatever that is, does not necessary make it more effective.

Lynne

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Matthew Hutchinson

I started root canal treatment yesterday. After all the drilling, injection, etc, they wanted to see how my canals were as they couldn't find both of them. It's very uncomfortable getting such a large plate inside my small mouth and the student dentist had trouble. It was the most uncomfortable procedure out of everything, getting the sharp corners of the plate in my mouth. But after some struggle the qualified dentist came in to help and told the dental student to use some numbing gel round the plate and used a smaller cage for it. I don't know if it was the combination of all of these things, but it slipped right in pretty easily with little pain after that. Ask your dentist to do this before using inserting it. I'm guessing the numbing gel numbed the area/lubricated the plate, so it slid in and or the cage holding it was smaller so all worked in combination to then make the procedure much easier. Pain level before doing this.... Root canal pain 2/10. injection pain 3/10 and x-ray plate pain 8/10. But after doing this x-ray plate pain was 1/10. All in all so far the procedure has been quite easy and pain free. To be honest the mild pain from the tooth before was worse than the procedure, taking away the first experience with the x-ray. But now i'm not worried at all.

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cindi1928


Yesterday I came back from the endodontist's office and I walked an extremely far walk to get there. Unfortunately what I was afraid of came true. I have a very small mouth inside and my regular dentist always has to use a small X-ray because the regular size is too big and it doesn't fit in my mouth and it hurts. Unfortunately the dental assistant tried to give me an X-Ray and they only have one size and it was too big to fit into my mouth and she tried twice and then the endodontist tried once and it was too big!

I asked the endodontist if I could have an X-Ray at my regular dentist's office and then have it sent to him.He said no because they have to take X-Rays during the root canal,which was not done when I had my only root canal for a cracked tooth in 1991 which I think was done at this same office.The endodontist also said that a small child size X-ray won't show enough of the root nerves and he called my dentist's office and left a message because he wasn't there,to ask if he knows any other endodontist's office I could go to and any other suggestions.This endodontist wasn't that nice or understanding either,he actually said soon after he came in the room for the first time,that I'm already anxious ,most people are anxious at a regular dentist's office and even more so at the possibility of root canal at an endodontist's office! He was picked as one of the top endodontists by Philadelphia Magazine for some puzzling reason too.


I asked him wasn't there any other test for my tooth he could do and he said no they need the X-Ray.


So now what do I do? I don't drive and I was at least able to walk far to this office.If you have any helpful suggestions I really would appreciate it.


Thank You

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maifleur01

I have a small mouth and lightly hold the holder lightly by my teeth. As long as the film does not wobble your xray should be fine.

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cindi1928

maifleur01 are you talking to me?


As I said the dam*n thing wouldn't even fit,much less dig into my gums and under my tongue and hurt like the regular size dental X-rays do!

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cindi1928

And the poster treKaren posted all the way back in April 2003 when this topic was started,that she had an endodontist that used the smaller sized X-rays and she told her they are available because a lot of adults have small mouths,well they really should be available in 2016!

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maifleur01

Yes I was talking to you. If I hold the film tightly as the tech tells me to it will hurt but if I just loosely hold it between my teeth it will not. My dentist uses a flexible film that curves with the side of my mouth. From your posting about it going under your tongue I wonder if the tech has put the film in the holder vertical rather than horizontal as mine, I do have a child sized mouth, fit next to the teeth and gums, both up and down. I am sorry that you are having this problem but from your comment I get the impression you thought I was attacking what you had written. Very far from what I was doing. I was just suggesting what worked for me and might work for others.

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cindi1928

maifleur01,

Thank you for your suggestion. But like I said that X-Ray was so big it wouldn't even fit in my mouth.

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cindi1928

DENTIST DR.FINAZZO HAS A DENTAL BLOG & ANSWERED ABOUT 2 WEEKS AGO & AT THE END HE SAID IT SOUNDS LIKE MY TOOTH PULP IS AFFECTED OR INFECTED!


FOR SOME REASON HIS ANSWER WAS ERASED AND I HAD ASKED HIM WHAT MAKES HIM THINK MY TOOTH PULP WAS INFECTED AND WHAT TO DO.HE ANSWERED THAT THE ONLY WAY FOR ME TO FIND OUT IF I NEED ROOT CANAL IS TO GO TO AN ENDODONTIST & GET A PULP VITALITY TEST. SO AFTER I WENT TO THE ENDODONTIST'S I POSTED TO HIM WHAT HAPPENED & STRANGELY MY POST WAS REMOVED,SO HOURS LATER I POSTED IT AGAIN AND IT WAS REMOVED AGAIN!

http://www.winningsmiles.net/blog/doc-my-tooth-didnt-hurt-until-you-worked-on-it/#comment-10868

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cindi1928

My posting name on Dr.Finazzo's blog is Carr.

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cindi1928

Also,

this endodontist told me that they would have to take X-rays in between the root canal,have any of you had this done this way? I had only one root canal back in 1991 I think at that same office with a much nicer and good endodontist that I liked,but they did not do any X-rays at all and my father has had several root canals years after mine and he thinks his also been to that office and he said he never had X-rays during it!

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shuffles_gw

I recently had a whole mouth x-ray. All I had to do was bite on a small plastic thing with my front teeth, while the machine circled my head. Prior x-rays were painful and had me gaging.

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cindi1928

shuffles_gw,


If you read the post on here from way back in May 2004 by Lynn_SJO who said she was a dental hygienist for 30 years said that there is a dental X-ray called a Panorex where you don't have to have anything put in your mouth,and that it takes a full mouth picture but it's not very good at diagnosing tooth decay.

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wendy_j_w

I haven't got a very big mth either & my Dentist put these horrible things in too for my x rays & I felt like I was gng to spew as well, they are plastic & EW in fact I gag just thinking about it @ all, why don't they offer them to people if they have them! the smaller ones anyway, mine came out with numerous amounts of saliva & BLOOD on them too & he just said sorry over now, YUCK!!!!! I have since gone to another nicer Dentist & have NOT asked for an x ray either thanks!

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Dwayne Koh

humans can go to the moon, have smart technologies that are in cars and homes, but when it come to x-rays for teeth, they still need to put plastic things in your mouth that is way too big and take shot after shot of x-ray in of the same location because they didnt get the full image of the tooth on the first or second try! It been two days since the x-ray, and my gum is bruised and have difficulty chewing on my left side, lower right from outside is bruised. Not too sure if this is normal. hope it goes away. frustrated.

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wendy_j_w

If I was you I would go back & complain, some Dentists u can ask for if they have a Cone Beam X ray.

http://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=dentalconect

If u look up on this web site u will see, my Dentist explained that he would rather the other Bite Wings they call them, should change it to Bruise Wings!!!!! As more accurate! But u could ask or change dentists or if u have too have anywhere ask if u can be numbed in the gums with numbing gel or IV or Valium to make u a bit sleepy, hope this helps, I wonder if anyone has ever been sick over the Dentist trying to shut your mth with it in, not good, Torture! I did gag once, & took the thing out myself when he had done picture! But if he stays in room then what


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manunitedlad

Hello, after hours/days of scrolling the Internet about dental phobia I found this forum and thought I'd comment, I have extreme dental anxiety which I probably put down to the fact when I went to have braces as a teenager with the impressions I had a very bad experience, orthodontist started to put them in my mouth and I immediately started to gag (a lot), now what made things worse was the fact she was pushing the things further down and forcing me down in the chair, getting angry, didn't seem to be sympathetic and gave the general impression (haha) that I was doing it on purpose, so she tried once more and being 13-14 at the time I just said no-no more I can't bare this anymore and pretty much have only made the odd dental visit ever since and I am now 21. So after nearly thinking about getting nice teeth everyday for the past 7+ years I finally plucked up the courage to at least talk about it and made a visit to a dentist who has now referred me to a dental hospital. I'm hopefully going for a chat there in the next few weeks but the thing I am dreading most is getting impressions done, the previous episode has obviously scarred me I just hope and pray there is some way I can concur it (I'm thinking some sort of sedation). Anyway sorry for going on so long, if there's anyone that experiences the same issues or has found a way to overcome a similar issue please feel free to comment. Many thanks, Andrew!

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Sylvia Davidson

I have a small mouth as well and the xrays literally bring me to tears. I have to take xrays over and over because it's easy for the film to move. It's so damn painful! (Usually only when doing my bottom back teeth.) I feel bad for the assistant as it's not her fault, but holy hell!! Someone has to create/sell/buy smaller film! Xrays are the reason I hate seeing the dentist.

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amydaytrader

I am sorry to hear of your problems. I am currently suffering from severe bruising on the top of my mouth from just this kind of thing. I will not be returning to my dentist. I have friends' who's dentists have xray machines that don't even use the little film things you put in your mouth. Sounds like you and I are going to dentists who use old technology. In addition - I think the constant xrays are a scam anyway, and won't be getting anymore unless I have a problem. Good luck !

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petra_gw

I have the same problem and the dentist uses child-size x-ray holders. Much more comfortable and no gagging or pain.

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annschl

Sorry for all the people with the same little mouth like me. I have been told the child size will not work to get the roots. Often, I have to refuse X-rays, too, because of the pain. Hopefully, all the small mouth people will live to see the day when something better is available to us.

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mmwclarke

I can relate to that. Its nothing to do with the size of your mouth, the thing is impractical and cheap plastic. It is not fair to subject somebody with a toothache to more pain. Whoever invented it and whoever passed it for use ought to be sued.

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Catalina Badiu

I'm so glad I'm not the only one with this problem, I thought I was crazy! I don't even allow the dentist to try to take the x-ray because of my gag reflex, which is more terrifying than the pain. They always get mad, as if I'm doing it on purpose, but it's a real issues. Let's hope technology will evolve...

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Aissata Kebe

Glad to know I'm not the only one going through this. I have Rheumatoid arthritis which has caused a jaw lock so I can't open wide enough for the xrays to be taken comfortably. I start gagging and cannot breath, I just feel like I am going to die. Going to the dentist brings me so much anxiety.

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Sherry Taylor

My dentist has to come in and take my X-rays. The assistant tried but it was so painful until I cried. Not out loud but tears were streaming because of the pain. I hate this part. I think I have scar tissue from it pressing against my soft tissues on the bottom between my cheek and gum.

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maifleur01

Sherry Taylor curious because the dentist office I go to puts the film on the inside of the teeth with a tab between the teeth but you mention on the bottom between cheek and gum. I have a small face and depending on the client different size of film is used.

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Sherry Taylor

You’re right. It is opposite of what I sai. It hurts though. Made me cry.

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Chris Streano

I always hated getting that one back x-ray with the film. It always hurt. But I got through it. Now, they have digital x-rays. There is no film. It's a big plastic thing that has no give to it and hurts like heck. This thing made me cry. It was so painful. I could not even do it. And they kept trying and trying and it was cutting the bottom of my mouth. They made me feel really stupid and were very threatening because they said, well your insurance isn't going to cover it unless you take this x-ray. So here I am in the car crying and trying to find out if anybody else has this problem. Of course I should know by now that if I have a problem a lot of people have a problem. It's never just me. Has anyone experienced this digital x-ray bs? How do I get through this? I asked for a smaller one. they said they didn't have one. They only had one size. I said how can that be when everyone has different sized mouths?



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maifleur01

If it is the same digital x-ray machine that my dentist had for a while it is one that the office was given on a trial basis. Which would explain only having one size of film unless the office specifically asked or and perhaps paid for the film. Dentist told me that they had no intention on buying it by then but tried it to see how customers liked it. Apparently not enough did. Did you complain to the office?

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Raye Smith

My dentist tells me where they need the x-ray and lets me put the digital "box" in place. I've had no problems since using that technique

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Angela Williams

I had a root canal done. I'm feeling more pain from the xray than the soreness from the procedure. Same thing, been to a couple dentist offices and the xray is always uncomfortable and leaves me sore for a few days, it's caused a fear. I think of the xray when I know I have to go to the dentist among whatever else they're going to do. The plastic edges of that camera cut my mouth.

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Raye Smith

Angela, are they using plastic coated film or the little box that's about 1x2x3/4"? The little box is a big improvement. Ask them if you can put the "thing" in your mouth yourself and hold it, it's helped me greatly.

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Richard Rumple

I had the same problem with x-rays cutting into the gums. Finally, I was diagnosed with an extremely large tori on both sides of my mouth bottom below the jaw teeth. It may be your problem as well. https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/basics/mouth-and-teeth-anatomy/what-are-mandibular-tori-0516

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Vicky Fountain

I have the same issue! Small upper jaw, x-rays have always hurt, cut my gums up, and the ones in the back make me gag. I've avoided the dentist for years because they all INSIST on x-rays and refuse to treat you without them. I'm finally going tomorrow because I know I need a checkup and I'll ask them about using smaller films or maybe a Panorex, and I pray they don't give me a hard time. Dentists need to understand that torturing people in the chair is not "care" and unless someone has a serious dental issue that requires x-rays, you need to cut us some slack.

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