Since every child is unique, the need for dental X-rays varies from child to child. Films are taken only after a complete review of your child’s health history, and only when they are likely to yield information that a visual exam cannot. In general, children need X-rays more often than adults. Their mouths grow and change rapidly. Also, enamel is thinner on baby teeth and if decay is present, it can progress more rapidly than in permanent teeth. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends X-ray examinations every six months for children with a high risk of tooth decay. Children with a low risk of tooth decay require X-rays less frequently.
Why should radiographs be taken if my child has never had a cavity?
X-ray images detect much more than cavities. For example, X-rays may be needed to survey erupting teeth, diagnose bone pathology, evaluate an injury, or plan orthodontic treatment. X-ray images allow dentists to diagnose and treat health conditions that cannot be detected during a clinical examination. If dental problems are found and treated early, dental care is more conservative, comfortable, and affordable.
How safe are dental X-rays?
We 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. Digital radiography reduces radiation exposure by 80 – 90%. Today’s equipment filters out unnecessary X-rays and restricts the X-ray beam to the area of interest. In addition to digital radiography, our office uses lead body aprons with thyroid collars to provide additional protection to our patients. Dental X-rays represent a far smaller risk than an undetected and untreated dental problem.
Have a child with special needs and you need a dentist?