Taking your child to the dentist for the first time can be a stressful experience. The new sights and sounds of the dentist’s office might make your child feel nervous. During the visit, the dentist and dental hygienist will spend time getting your child comfortable with the process of cleaning and examining their teeth. At some point, your child will need dental x-rays. Since x-rays provide dentists with a highly detailed picture of the teeth, bones, and supporting tissues of the mouth, x-rays are helpful tools in identifying any problems with the teeth. However, some parents question if dental x-rays safe for their children. Not sure if your child should have dental x-rays? Today we’ll be answering some of the more common questions parents have surrounding dental x-rays for children and provide all the knowledge you need to walk into your child’s dental appointment with confidence.
Why does my child need an X-Ray?
There are several reasons why your child’s dentist might suggest using dental x-rays. First, tooth decay isn’t always visible to the naked eye, so your child’s dentist may use x-rays to determine spots of decay that might be hiding between teeth or under fillings.
Second, as your child loses baby teeth and has permanent teeth come in, the placement of their teeth might shift. X-rays can help determine any problems with spacing in your child’s mouth and whether or not they’d benefit from orthodontia.
Third, an x-ray can serve as a map to show the dentist any potential complications during a needed tooth extraction or another complicated dental procedure. Additionally, any bone related tooth problems –– especially problems with the roots of a tooth –– can be found using an x-ray.
When should my child get his or her first X-ray?
Most children will receive their first x-ray when their adult teeth begin to erupt, usually around the age of 6. Your child’s dentist will use the x-ray to determine if the teeth are coming in correctly and to ensure there will be enough room in the mouth for all of the adult teeth.
As for how often your child should get dental x-rays, some experts suggest that kids should start getting x-rays once they have two back teeth that touch in order to detect any cavities between teeth. Others say that they should get x-rays only as often as reasonably effective, which would be determined by your pediatric dentist.
If a child has no history of cavities or active tooth decay, they should probably get x-rays once every 12-36 months or so, depending on any signs of problems. If your child has a history of cavities or active tooth decay, your child’s dentist may recommend getting their teeth x-rays taken as often as every six months for a period of time.
Do I need to be concerned about radiation exposure?
The most common question parents have about dental x-rays for their kids is whether or not dental x-rays are safe. Some parents may wrongly assume that dental x-rays have a high level of radiation and will put their child at risk.
The truth is that the amount of radiation your child is exposed to during a single set of x-rays is very minimal. Additionally, your pediatric dentist will go to great lengths to minimize your child’s exposure to the small amount of radiation produced by the dental x-rays machine. For example, your child will be wearing a lead apron to protect their body from most of the radiation.
Dental x-rays are perfectly safe for children. But if you have any questions regarding the safety of x-rays or any other procedures, be sure to ask your pediatric dentist. Your child’s dentist will want to help make you feel as comfortable as possible.
Here at Endodontic Specialists, we know that dental x-rays are one of the best tools for successful root canal therapy. X-rays are just one of the many tools we use to restore our patients’ smiles. Contact us today to learn how we can give you a healthy, beautiful smile!