Importance of Dental X-Rays

Dental x-rays are an important tool in pediatric dentistry. As the teeth and jaw mature, x-rays provide pediatric dentists an enhanced view of a child’s oral health development and the underlying problems that may lead to complications. Depending on the condition of the teeth, jaw and soft tissues of a child’s mouth, a dentist may use x-rays to make a diagnosis and form a plan for treatment.

Did you know…

that x-rays are considered safe and only emit minimal amounts of radiation? In fact, advancements in modern dentistry have made it possible to reduce the amount of radiation children are exposed to while getting dental x-rays. Pediatric dentists take further precautions by protecting the body with a lead apron while obtaining x-rays from young patients.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does my child need a dental x-ray?

Your child may need oral x-rays for preventative purposes. Pediatric dentists often use x-rays to gauge the development of the permanent teeth and their placement. Sometimes x-rays reveal missing or extra teeth or other underlying problems not detectable with a visual exam. Your child’s dentist may also order x-rays to:

  • Monitor healing and recovery following a mouth injury
  • Identify an infection
  • Determine whether a child will need orthodontic treatment

When should my child begin getting dental x-rays, and how often will he or she need them?

Though there are no specific guidelines for getting the first x-ray, most children have had their first dental x-rays by age 5 or 6, when the permanent teeth begin to erupt. However, a dentist may request earlier x-rays if a child is at high risk of tooth decay or shows signs of other potential complications. Dental x-rays may be ordered as frequently as twice per year or as little as once every few years.

What will my child experience while having his or her mouth x-rayed?

The x-ray process is completely painless for children. They will be seated for the duration of the imaging process and will not experience discomfort. The length of time required will depend on the type of x-rays taken. For more information about pediatric dental x-rays at our office, contact us to speak with a helpful staff member.

Why should X-ray films be taken if my child has never had a cavity?

X-ray films detect much more than cavities. For example, X-rays may be needed to survey erupting teeth, diagnose bone diseases, evaluate the results of an injury, or plan orthodontic treatment. X-rays allow dentists to diagnose and treat conditions that cannot be detected during a clinical examination. If dental problems are found and treated early, dental care is more comfortable and affordable.

Will X-ray films be taken routinely?

No. X-ray films are recommended only when necessary to evaluate and monitor your child’s oral health. The frequency of X-ray films is determined by your child’s individual needs. If your child’s previous dentist obtained X-ray films, request copies be sent to your new pediatric dentist to help reduce radiation exposure.

How safe are dental X-rays?

Pediatric dentists are particularly careful to minimize the exposure of child patients to radiation. With contemporary safeguards, the amount of radiation received in a dental X-ray examination is extremely small. In fact, dental X-rays represent a far smaller risk than undetected and untreated dental problems.

What safeguards are used to protect my child from X-ray exposure?

Lead body aprons and shields help protect your child. Today’s equipment filters out unnecessary X-rays and restricts the X-ray beam to the area of interest. High-speed film, digital X-rays, and proper shielding assure that your child receives a minimal amount of radiation exposure.

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