October 1, 2023
Why does your child need x-ray’s you ask? There is a lot more that the dentist needs to see besides just looking at your child’s teeth alone. For instance, your child is probably already loosing baby teeth or is on their way to that stage of life, if you aren’t sure when your child will be losing their baby teeth refer to one of the previous blogs on Primary Tooth Eruption and Loss. Your child’s dentist may take x-rays to see your how child’s adult teeth are placed before they erupt, which can give them an idea if there will be any problems with how those teeth will erupt. If there are suspected issues, your child’s dentist can have a plan set in place for those new teeth. X-ray’s are also used to evaluate your child’s teeth as a plan for orthodontic treatment, this is important so the dentist will have the correct mapping of your child’s teeth, and know exactly what needs to be done with braces or any other orthodontic devices. X-ray’s are also used to analyze the severity of a cavity, diagnose any bone diseases or review any injury. As you can see, dental x-rays play an important roll in your child’s dental care. But let’s get down to it, are they safe??
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry states, that “pediatric dentists are particularly careful to minimize the exposure of child patients to radiation…the amount of radiation received in a dental X-ray examination is extremely small.” They even say that the radiation is less harmful than “untreated dental problems.” To put it into perspective of how small the amount is you are exposed to more radiation flying across the country than you get from a dental x-ray. Most dentists are switching to digital x-rays and with this technology the radiation level is even lower. So then your next question would probably be, “if it’s so small then why does my child have to wear a lead vest? And why do the assistants/dentists leave the room?” Dental assistants and dentists are around it all day long, so as a way to limit their exposure, they step out of the room. As for the lead aprons, they are a precautionary measure; with how small the amount of radiation is we should be grateful that they are using them to shield our children rather than using nothing. It also should be noted that your child’s dentist would take x-rays after they have reviewed your child’s medical and dental history.
Now that we know that x-rays are safe, how often should your child have x-rays taken? If your child is a new patient they will most likely have x-rays taken to give the dentist a baseline as to what their dental health is like. If you child is prone to cavities then their dentist may want to take them more often. They may also have x-rays more often because their jaws are still growing and they may be getting their adult teeth.
Dental x-rays play a very important role in your child’s oral health, early detection of any kind of disease or cavities will reduce the cost of treatment down the road. If you have concerns about your child getting an x-ray, talk to their dentist, you can also visit Dental X-rays under our services to read about x-rays. Other resources are listed below that will give you helpful information.