Are dental X-rays safe for my child?

Posted on July 14, 2021 | Hot Topics

Are dental X-rays safe for my child?

Are dental X-rays safe for my child? Could they hurt or have any long-term impacts on my child? These are valid and appropriate questions to ask, and we are here to provide answers!

Why do we need to take dental X-rays?

Great question! Why are dental X-rays even necessary? Can’t you just look at teeth and determine what’s wrong? There are several reasons why taking an X-ray can help us further diagnose and understand what’s going on:

Monitor oral health and injury recovery:

If a child (or adult) suffers a mouth injury, a dentist may use an X-ray to track the patient’s healing progress and ensure that he or she can make a full recovery.

Help identify oral infections:

Dental cavities, gingivitis, and other oral infections are painful and problematic. By using an X-ray, a dentist is better equipped to identify an oral infection before it gets out of hand.

Determine if orthodontic treatment is necessary:

A dentist sometimes uses an X-ray to determine whether or not to recommend future orthodontic treatment.

Identify cavities:

X-rays give us a look into what’s going on below the surface and between teeth. Without an X-ray, it can be difficult to determine the extent of decay and damage.

So, what about the radiation?

Radiation gets a bit of a bad rap. There are many sources of radiation exposure, and a wide range of the impact it has on us. Dental X-rays fall very low on the radiation scale, when compared to both human-made and natural radiation sources.

In fact, dental X-ray technology has improved so much that lead aprons aren’t even necessary anymore. Most pediatric dentists will still opt to use lead aprons for a precautionary measure. For a visual of where dental X-rays fall on a scale of total amount of radiation, check this out:

How often does my child need dental X-rays?

To get super technical: the American Dental Association (ADA) and American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommend that kids who are at a high risk for dental disease (those who have cavities or a history of cavities, or signs of plaque or tartar build-up) should have X-rays taken every six to twelve months. Because dental disease can progress rapidly in a child’s mouth, it’s typically recommended that bitewing X-rays are taken for high risk children every six months. For kids and teens who have healthy dental exams, the frequency of the X-rays may be decreased accordingly. 

If you ever have concerns or more detailed questions, our dentists here at Blossom would love to answer those specific questions. Contact us!

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