Posted on 10/2/2019 by Gallatin Valley Pediatric Dentistry
How often does my child need x-rays? The need for radiographic examination is individualized to each child. We will assess their specific risk for dental decay and evaluate their medical and dental history. X-ray films allow us to examine the teeth and jaws much more than a visual exam alone. Generally speaking, children require dental radiographs more often than adults. This is due to the fact that a child is growing more rapidly and changes (good or bad) can occur more quickly than in an adult.
Are dental x-ray films necessary if my child has never had a cavity? Yes. Dental x-rays allow us to evaluate not only cavities but also the developing permanent teeth, the upper and lower jaws, identify missing or extra teeth, diagnose bone disease and assess injuries. Identifying these conditions early with radiology leads to less invasive, more cost-effective treatment options.
Are dental x-ray films safe? Yes. Our office utilizes the latest technology to ensure safety, including a focused beam to minimize extraneous radiation. We specifically use a digital imaging system, the Scan X system. This system significantly reduces the radiation your child receives compared to the dental x-rays of the past. Every child is protected with a lead-lined apron for proper shielding. The average American receives 0.3 rem of natural background radiation each year. A set of 2 bitewing radiographs will expose your child to about 0.00075 rem of radiation. In other words, your child receives 400 times more radiation/year from natural background sources, (i.e. cell phones and microwaves) than he/she will from 2 bitewing radiographs in our office.
At what age can my child expect x-ray films taken? Unless cavities or injury are suspected, we generally attempt x-ray films on children at age three and annually thereafter. We have a variety of different types of x-rays i.e. bitewings and panoramic, that we take at age appropriate times.