What Parents Should Know About Dental X-Rays for Children

When you take your child to the dentist, part of the process is getting X-rays. They are necessary to look at the development of the child's teeth, to examine the roots and bone structure, and to detect any problems, such as decay. You may be curious about the safety and necessity of dental X-rays in children. Here are some things you should know about kids and dental X-rays:

Are X-Rays Safe?

When properly performed, a dental X-ray is completely safe. Safety equipment is used alongside modern technology to make certain all patients are safe. The dose of radiation needed for dental X-rays is very small. The tests are done quickly so there is no prolonged exposure. The process is digital, which is different from the dental X-rays in the past. There are no films needed. Children will also wear a protective vest to help keep any radiation away.

When Do Children Need Dental X-Rays?

Your child's dentist will decide how many X-rays your child needs based on their current dental health. In general, most dentists only require one set of X-rays per year at a regular checkup. If your child has a lot of dental issues that need to be addressed, the X-rays may take place more frequently. Kids who are at a higher risk for gum disease or those with a lot of decay or alignment issues might need to be x-rayed more frequently.

Are There Different Types of X-Rays?

There is more than one type of dental X-ray needed based on the dental needs of your child. The most commonly performed one is the bitewing X-ray, which detects issues within the teeth that the dentist cannot easily see otherwise.

A periapical X-ray takes images of one tooth so the dentist can determine whether your tooth needs extra attention due to gum disease, decay, abscess, or other problems. Periapical X-rays thoroughly examine a tooth, the tooth's root, and the bone that is holding the tooth in place.

A panoramic X-ray takes an image of the entire mouth. These images help dentists evaluate your child's teeth and mouth development as they grow and change. These are typically done on a yearly basis but may be necessary more often depending on the needs of your child.

If you have any questions or concerns about dental X-rays, be sure to reach out to a family dentist. They will be happy to go over how each X-ray works and the benefits they can provide.