A dental X-ray is one of the most important tools that we use to track your child’s tooth development and for decay and cavities that aren’t visible during a normal examination by a dentist. The ability to detect and treat cavities early in children is vital to their oral health and development, and the use of a dental x-ray is recommended in most cases to monitor your child’s dental health.
How safe is a dental x-ray for my child?
A dental x-ray is a very safe tool available to help diagnose oral health issues that would otherwise go unseen until they become larger problems. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AADP) recommends performing dental x-rays on children based on each patient’s needs and not just age alone. According to the AADP, dental x-rays for children are recommended based on the following conditions:
- History of cavities or tooth decay
- Pain in the mouth or teeth
- Gum disease
- Bleeding in the gums or mouth
- Loose teeth
- Abnormal tooth eruption, color or other conditions
- Swelling in the gums or mouth
From time to time we hear a few concerns from parents about dental x-rays, and the truth is that there is a very minimal amount of radiation that comes from them. We try to explain the risks of not having a dental x-ray and leaving unseen problems with a child’s oral health to worsen is more detrimental than the very small amount of radiation received from an x-ray.
Types of Dental X-rays for children
A bitewing x-ray is typically performed to allow the dentist to view areas of the mouth that are commonly very hard to see with the eye during an examination. Bitewings also help a dentist to assess the alveolar bone which holds the teeth in place in your jaw. These x-rays are crucial in identifying cavities and caries in the areas where teeth touch.
We often perform periapical x-rays to assess a single tooth or a couple of neighboring teeth when your child is experiencing signs of cavities, caries, decay, or damage and trauma to the structure of a tooth or teeth. We can perform these x-rays on small areas within the mouth to determine the depth of damage or decay, and to help develop the best treatment options going forward.
During a panoramic x-ray, we will take a photo of the entire mouth which takes a few seconds of exposure to develop. This requires the patient to remain still during the x-ray to create a successful x-ray picture. The panoramic x-ray is a great tool to track the development and growth of your child’s teeth and the overall structure of their mouth.
Our team can answer any questions you may have about the use of dental x-rays and their benefits to your child’s dental and overall health!