If you’re like many parents, you may wonder whether or how often your children need dental X-rays. Here at Playtime Dental, we believe that children’s dental X-rays are an important tool for finding hard-to-see cavities and diagnosing oral disease in its early stages, when it’s easiest to treat. So make sure your kids’ dentist gives your kids X-rays as needed.
What’s the Purpose of Dental X-rays?
Dental X-rays, like other types of X-rays, use beams of X-ray radiation to take black-and-white photos that show your child’s bones, teeth, and other oral structures including the roots of the teeth. There are several types of dental X-rays, including:
- Bitewings: used to take X-rays of the back teeth to show cavities between the teeth and bone levels
- Periapicals: used to take photos of the teeth & roots to look for cavities and/or other pathology (i.e. infection)
- Panoramic X-rays: used to take photos of the entire jaw and all of the teeth. Used to monitor growth and development as well as look for pathology (i.e. infection). This x-ray is not good for diagnosing cavities
- Cone beam CTs: used to take three-dimensional pictures of the jaw. Used for orthodontic, oral surgery and implant treatment planning
How Often Do Children Need Dental X-Rays?
It used to be the case that dentists recommended yearly dental X-rays for all children. But the LA Times reports that those guidelines have changed. Dental X-rays are no longer treated as a routine diagnostic procedure to be performed at every exam. They are administered based on each child’s needs. Your kids’ dentist may see no need to take dental X-rays if your children have no evidence of dental disease. Children with a higher risk of dental disease may need X-rays every six months, while low-risk kids may only need them every 12 to 18 months. These guidelines minimize kids’ exposure to X-ray radiation.
Why Do Children Need Dental X-Rays?
Dental X-rays can help your kids’ dentist find problems with the teeth and the jaw that aren’t immediately apparent from the oral exam. They can also help dentists spot any cavities that might be growing between the teeth. X-rays help dentists diagnose oral disease reliably and quickly. This is important because keeping your kids’ mouth healthy keeps their whole body healthy. Thanks to X-rays, kids today enjoy better oral and overall health than ever before.