Welcome

…to the Orange Coast Dental X-ray Laboratory in Huntington Beach.

We appreciate the opportunity to be of service to you and your doctor. We are specialists in dental radiography and photography. You can be sure that you will receive the highest quality records, using the lowest possible x-ray exposure, at the most consistently reasonable price in the area. This information has been provided so that we may better serve you. It contains answers to questions most frequently asked by patients. However, if you have other questions, please feel free to ask any staff member.

Frequently Asked Qustions
Click on any question listed below. 
  1. “Why do I need these x-rays?”
  2. “What is the difference between these x-rays and the ones the dentist takes?”
  3. “Will I need to come back again?”
  4. “How and when will my doctor get the results?”
  5. “Should I come back with my child into the x-ray room?”
  6. “Are these x-rays safe?”
  7. “How much x-ray exposure do I receive?”
  8. “Will you cover me with a lead apron?”
  9. “If x-rays are so safe, why does the technician leave the room?”
  10. “Will you bill my insurance?”
  11. “Are the things that go in my mouth clean?”
  12. “I don’t remember having these done when I had my braces as a kid!”
  13. “What kind of license do you have?”
1. “Why do I need these x-rays?”
X-rays and photographs are an important part of your treatment. Whether you are beginning treatment, finishing, or a “work in progress,” these records help your doctor visualize parts of your anatomy that can’t be seen with the naked eye. The x-rays will show the bones of the jaw and face, the roots of the teeth, and many other hard tissue structures of the head and neck. The photographs show soft tissue aspects of the patient’s anatomy that can’t be visualized in the x-rays. Together, they provide part of what your doctor needs to properly diagnose and treat you. These records, combined with your personal health history, study models, and your doctor’s expertise, help assure that you receive proper care and follow up.
Return to Top
2. “What is the difference between these x-rays and the ones my dentist takes?”
Some of the procedures provided by our lab are very similar to the ones available at your dentist’s office. While we use different equipment and techniques, the result is essentially the same. The primary difference is in the areas of interest. Often your dentist is most interested in the crowns of the teeth and is looking for cavities that need attention. The orthodontist on the other hand, is more interested in the roots of the teeth and the bone supporting the teeth. A good set of x-rays will show all areas well. Our goal is to provide high quality x-rays that can be used by both of these specialists. Besides conventional dental x-rays, we also provide a variety of procedures that are not readily available outside a dental x-ray lab. These include panoramic views, various skull views, color photographs, and a number of other special procedures. Many of these procedures are so specialized that it would be far too costly for your doctor to own and operate the equipment in their office. Consequently, we can provide your doctor the exact procedures needed at a much lower cost to you. The fact that you were referred to us shows the high regard your doctor has for your health care as well as your finances.
Return to Top
3. “Will I need to come back again?”
X-rays will be processed and checked before you are dismissed from the lab. This ensures that all procedures have been done correctly and takes only a few minutes. Depending on your stage of treatment, your doctor may request additional films after reviewing the records and evaluating your progress. If your doctor does not discuss what records will normally be required during treatment, be sure to ask him or her for clarification.
Return to Top
 4. “How and when will my doctor get the results?”
In most cases, when you are dismissed from the lab, your records are only partially complete. Photographs are processed and printed, some x-rays are mounted and labeled while others need a computer analysis performed on them. After putting the final finishing touches on your records, the whole case is rechecked before being delivered to your doctor. The complete process takes about a day, with another day or two for delivery. With only rare exceptions, your records will be in your doctor’s office within one week. Please let us know if this presents a problem. Often we can speed up the process.
Return to Top
5. “Should I come back with my child into the x-ray room?”
California law states that only those involved in the actual performance of the procedure are allowed in an x-ray room. However, we acknowledge that some of our younger patients may be more comfortable with a parent in the general vicinity. While we prefer that parents wait in the reception area, we will allow you to observe at a safe distance if you or your child feels strongly about it. Under no circumstances will friends or siblings be allowed beyond the reception area.
Return to Top
6. “Are these x-rays safe?”
As in many areas of our lives, there is a certain risk involved with x-rays. Your doctor has decided that the benefit of having these x-rays far outweighs the risk. While dental x-rays involve very low doses of radiation, there are several things that we do to further reduce the dose. These include using the fastest film available, properly processing the films, adequate collimation and shielding, proper maintenance of equipment, and above all, the correct and appropriate performance of the procedures by competent, licensed personnel. We sincerely believe that no office or lab can provide you a safer set of x-rays!
Return to Top
7. “How much x-ray exposure do I receive?”
Attempting to express x-ray dose in a meaningful measurement is very difficult. X-rays can be measured at the point of entry (skin dose), within the exposed tissues (absorbed dose), or distributed over the whole body (effective or equivalent dose). The effective dose is often the easiest to understand because it compares x-ray dose to the equivalent background exposure that we receive from our everyday environment. During a typical orthodontic x-ray series, your exposure will equal approximately 1½ days of background equivalent exposure. As you can see, even the most comprehensive series of x-rays results in a relatively insignificant exposure to the patient.
Return to Top
8. “Will you cover me with a lead apron?”
Every patient is draped with a lead apron on every x-ray procedure, always! Not only is this required by California law, it also helps relieve the anxiety that many patients feel when exposed to x-rays. The primary purpose of the lead apron is to protect sensitive organs from primary and/or secondary radiation. Although radiation levels for dental procedures are very low, wearing a lead apron helps ensure that no other parts of the body are needlessly exposed.
Return to Top
9. “If x-rays are so safe, why does the technician leave the room?”
As we’ve seen from the recent rise in sun induced skin cancers, the effects of continuous exposure to low levels of radiation often go unnoticed until it is too late. For the patient, today’s x-rays may be the only ones he or she receives for several years. For the operator, your x-rays are only one of a dozen or more they will receive today! If unprotected, most operators would receive more radiation in one day than a patient would receive in a lifetime! Consequently, x-ray rooms are set up so that procedures cannot be performed unless the operator is positioned out of the exposure area. This is usually behind a leaded wall. California law requires it and common sense agrees that a complete radiation safety program will protect patients and operators from any unnecessary exposure to x-rays.
Return to Top
10. “Will you bill my insurance?”
We ask that your x-rays be paid for in full at the time they are taken. There are a variety of reasons why we do not bill insurance. The most significant being the high costs involved. As you are probably aware from the ongoing health care crisis, billing insurance adds tremendously to the cost of your health care. Patients who have insurance subsidize those who do not, and patients who pay their bills subsidize those who do not. Billing insurance and collecting balances would add about 33% to the cost of our services! Unfortunately, many people do not even have dental insurance, and those who do have a variety of deductibles and treatment limits. Most orthodontic plans will not pay for records until the patient has started treatment. Additionally, many insurance companies will not pay for services until they know the diagnosis, which is beyond the scope of our lab. Finally, some insurance companies (e.g., Delta Dental) will not pay us directly and others (e.g., Medi-Cal) will not even accept a claim from us! If we billed insurance, the price increase would dramatically reduce our ability to provide a quality service at a reasonable price. To help us control these costs, we will give you an itemized receipt that can be submitted to your insurance company. They will reimburse you directly.
Return to Top
11. “Are the things that go in my mouth clean?”
Our lab follows all current OSHA and EPA regulations regarding the possible transmission of infectious body fluids and the disposal of potentially hazardous materials. We do this to ensure your safety and the safety of our employees. Our practice of “universal precautions” assumes that every patient is potentially infectious. We combine barrier techniques with disposable products whenever possible. Reusable items receive high level disinfection or are sterilized. It’s important to note however that unlike a dental office, we do not perform any “invasive” procedures and none of our work is done in a “sterile” environment. Our lab does not create or dispose of any regulated biological waste, and all of our potentially hazardous materials are disposed of according to local, state and federal regulations.
Return to Top
12. “I don’t remember having these done when I had my braces as a kid!”
You may or may not have had similar records taken. This would depend on your doctor and the location of his/her practice. While dental x-ray labs are found in many cities across the nation, they are most common here in California. Our lab was started in 1979 as a branch of a lab that began in 1965. Many procedures we do today are very similar to the ones done in our original location over 35 years ago! Although you may not recall it, there is a good chance that you had similar records taken either at a lab or in your doctor’s office.
Return to Top
13. “What kind of license do you have?” Our technicians possess an x-ray permit in “Dental Laboratory Radiography” which is administered by the California Dept. of Public Health – Radiologic Health Branch (RHB). Additionally, all of our x-ray equipment is registered with the RHB. Our technicians have several decades of experience and their x-ray permits are kept current through annual continuing education courses.
Return to Top