When Should My Child Get Dental X-Rays?
Almost all parents have a pretty long list of questions for us regarding their children and dental health. One of the most common questions we receive is whether or not their children need a dental x-ray, especially if those children still only have their baby teeth. Some parents believe there is no point in taking dental x-rays until their child’s permanent teeth begin to erupt. We also get a large number of parents concerned about the safety of an x-ray for their children. They fear that radiation exposure could be harmful to their child’s health. In this article, we’re going to examine how early and often we recommend your child have dental x-rays taken, as well as whether or not dental x-rays are safe for your child.
How early and often should my child have dental x-ray images taken?
How often your child should have dental x-rays taken depends on two critical factors. The first factor is your child’s age. Many experts suggest that your child should begin getting dental x-ray images taken when they have two back teeth that touch. The x-ray images can help your pediatric dentist determine whether or not cavities have formed between those two back teeth. Additionally, your child should receive dental x-rays as often as reasonably practical, which is something your child’s dentist can help determine and discuss with you.
The second and most important factor is whether your child has a history of cavities or tooth decay. If your child has a history of cavities or tooth decay, x-rays can be critical in identifying these issues and helping your dentist take corrective and even preventative measures to aid your child’s dental health. For children with a history of these dental issues, it is recommended they have x-ray images taken more frequently. Some dentists may suggest having x-rays taken every six months for a period of time. Alternatively, suppose your child does not have a history of tooth decay or cavities. In that case, they will likely only need to have x-rays taken every 12-36 months, depending on any signs of cavities, tooth decay, or other issues that may arise.
Are x-rays of my child’s baby teeth important?
Many parents believe that having x-ray images taken of their child’s baby teeth is pointless or unimportant. However, this is not true. It is important to have x-rays taken of your child’s baby teeth because the health of a child’s baby teeth can determine the health of their permanent teeth in the future. Allowing your child’s dentist to take x-rays of their baby teeth can help detect issues early on, giving your child an improved chance of having appropriate corrective action taken and maintaining their dental well-being. Many oral health issues can be addressed quickly and effectively if caught early, while undetected issues can worsen and cause long-term dental health complications. Dental x-rays of your child’s baby teeth can help your dentist with the following:
- See how many teeth are still inside the gums, how large they are, and what position the teeth are in.
- Determine the presence of extra teeth, or the absence of teeth, before they begin erupting.
- Diagnose cracks in teeth, cavities, or other issues in your child’s teeth that can only be seen through an x-ray.
- Determine the extent and progress of any dental or teeth injuries.
- Identify any mouth infections, tooth infections, or bone diseases.
- Monitor the progress of the permanent teeth that will be erupting soon.
- If necessary, prepare for braces or other orthodontic treatments.
Are dental x-rays safe for my child?
One of the most common questions we receive from parents is whether or not dental x-rays are safe for their children. While their concern regarding radiation exposure is completely understandable and valid, modern dental x-ray equipment uses vastly decreased levels of radiation exposure to capture images. In fact, modern x-ray machines reduce radiation exposure by 80-90% while still capturing highly useful, clear images. However, it’s always important to ask your child’s dentist about the type of x-ray equipment they use to capture images of your child’s teeth. Additionally, it’s essential to ask about the dentist’s safety practices around dental x-rays and radiation exposure. With advances in x-ray technology and the significant reduction in radiation exposure levels, it’s safe for your child to have dental x-ray images taken with modern equipment.