What’s the truth about dental x-rays? Most parents cringe at the thought of their child having an x-ray, especially at a very young age. After all, we’ve heard so much over the years about the dangers of radiation exposure and how we should avoid x-rays at all costs that we automatically assume the worst.
The truth is, however, that x-rays have long been and will continue to be a valuable diagnostic tool in a number of instances, including for those working in the dental field.
As such, it’s important for parents to understand the procedures involved with taking dental x-rays and why and how they provide essential information that can help you – and your dentist – make critical decisions about your child’s teeth.
Here’s a list of common reasons why your pediatric dentist may recommend dental x-rays for your child.
✓ Your dentist may need to determine if there’s enough room in your child’s mouth for all his/her teeth to come in.
✓ Your pediatric dentist may want to know if there are any missing or extra teeth below the gumline, which could be cause for concern.
✓ X-rays can determine whether your child is losing their baby teeth quickly enough to make room for his/her permanent teeth.
✓ X-rays can show early signs of tooth decay.
✓ X-rays can show any possible signs of infection.
✓ X-rays are an excellent way to determine whether your child is a candidate for future orthodontic treatment.
✓ X-rays can be used to look for any abnormalities that may be suspected, such as a cyst or a tumor.
More about x-rays
Dentists really do rely heavily on x-rays, which are also called radiographs. (You might see that word on an invoice or insurance statement.) It’s easy to understand why.
After all, your dentist can’t see what’s under your gums simply by looking inside your mouth.
Instead, these images, both 2D and 3D, can help address issues like cavities, decay, breakage, and more, even if they’re not visible to the naked eye.
Radiographs allow the dentist to examine the tooth structure that’s beneath the gums and can provide a look at the jawbone in order to assess its health as well.
The frequency of dental x-rays depends on several factors, but you can be assured that your pediatric dentist will never take more x-rays than necessary. He or she will only take those needed to accurately diagnose any dental problems they can see or that they suspect may be present.
But are dental x-rays safe?
Thanks to advances in medical technology as well as improvements in dentistry in general, dental x-rays are safer than ever.
Your child will be exposed to very little radiation during dental x-rays, and the American Association of Pediatrics as well as the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry maintain that such x-rays represent very minimal danger for your child.
The addition of the use of body aprons made of lead further lessen the exposure.
If you’re concerned about dental x-rays and would like to learn more about their use and when they might be suggested for your child, talk to your pediatric dentist or a member of our staff at Anchorage Pediatric Dentistry for more information. We’d be happy to discuss our use of x-rays and talk to you more about the precautions we take to keep your child safe.
Call us at (907)562-1003 to schedule an appointment!