What You Want To Know About Dental X-Rays

Posted on June 29, 2022 | Hot Topics

What You Want To Know About Dental X-Rays

Why Do Pediatric Dentists Use X-Rays?

X-Rays are a fundamental part of a pediatric dentist’s ability to diagnose and monitor a child’s dental health. Exams that rely only on visual examination by the doctor are not enough. There are many aspects of dental health that the eye cannot see. 

Taking x-rays allows pediatric dentist to be able to see much more, including:

  • Baby and permanent teeth growing out or erupting
  • Dental and bone disease
  • Diagnose early orthodontic health or concerns
  • Evaluate any oral injuries
  • Causes of any swelling in the mouth
  • Abnormalities in the size, shape, or number of teeth

The ability to use x-rays allows dentists the most thorough and complete picture of a child’s oral and dental health. X-rays are necessary to help diagnose cavities located in between teeth which are undetectable by a regular oral exam. It also provides information regarding the size of cavities. X-rays do more than just detect decay. It also provides information regarding the growth pattern of erupting permanent teeth. Dental x-rays are also used to evaluate results from trauma, diagnose bone disease or oral pathology, abscess or cyst development, tumor development, and plan for orthodontic treatment. 

Frequency of X-Ray Use

We don’t want to expose patients to large levels of radiation so it is important to us to minimize the use of x-rays on patients. For children with high risk of tooth decay, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends the use of x-rays every six months. Most pediatric dentists take routine x-rays once a year, unless there is an area of concern. 

The less risk of tooth decay, the lower the need for x-rays. For parents that are particularly concerned with the use of x-rays on their children, the healthier their children’s teeth are, the less they will need an x-ray.

Are X-Rays Safe?

As dental technologies advance, x-rays have gotten much safer. Digital x-rays, like those used at Blossom,  have 80%-90% less radiation than traditional film radiology. In addition, there are many modern tools used to help shield and protect children from unnecessary x-ray exposure. This includes both lead body aprons and shields. 

In addition, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry reports that the amount of radiation that is received during a dental x-ray is minor and is a lower risk than leaving a tooth untreated and susceptible to dental disease. 

What Do Dental X-Rays Check For?

Dentists and Orthodontists use x-rays to see the placement of a child’s teeth and roots. They also show if there are signs of dental decay or cavities and allow the dentist to see what their eyes cannot. 

What Are The Different Types of Dental X-Rays?

There are two different types of dental x-rays that pediatric dentists and orthodontists use. The first is x-rays taken inside the mouth called intraoral. The second x-ray is taken outside the mouth and is called extraoral. 

Do Kids Need Dental X-Rays?

Dentists can only see so much when they look at your child’s teeth. X-rays help to see the roots, and decay which cannot be seen with the naked eye most of the time. Typically x-rays are done once or twice a year. 

What Age Should Kids Get Dental X-Rays?

The need for dental x-rays depends on each child. Children with active decay will need x-rays at a younger age than those who do not. Once the baby molars are touching in the back, and the dentist can not visually inspect between the teeth, x-rays are needed. This typically happens at age 3. The dentist may determine that x-rays are needed early, if there’s a history of trauma or other concerns.

Can Dentists See A Cavity Without X-Rays?

Dental x-rays are needed to see cavities a majority of the time. However, if a cavity is large and severe, the dentist can see the decay, which looks like a crack or a large hole in the tooth. We never want to see our patients get to the point of large holes in the teeth.  If your child has not been seen in a while, call for an appointment today.

If you have specific questions about your child’s need for dental x-rays, please reach out, or ask at your next visit.

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