X-rays are powerful diagnostic tools that pediatric dentists use when providing oral health care to children from infancy through adolescence. Still, parents often ask about their necessity, and it’s often because of the fear of radiation exposure.
Read on, because we are going to make the case for digital dental X-rays, and allay your exposure fears.
Dental X-rays are vital to your child’s good oral health. They enable Dr. Nanna and her team to see areas that cannot be seen with the naked eye. Thanks to dental X-rays, we can diagnose cavities located between teeth that aren’t visible during an oral examination. We can diagnose oral diseases and monitor dentofacial development.
Dental X-rays are used to evaluate results from trauma, and to diagnose abscess, cyst or tumor development. Information revealed in X-rays also sheds light on the growth pattern of erupting permanent teeth, and assists in planning orthodontic treatment.
We use digital X-ray technology, which provides the added benefit of 80-90 percent less radiation exposure than film X-rays, as well as faster results. Digital images can be displayed on computer screens to assist in patient education.
Even though digital X-rays expose patients to greatly reduced radiation levels, we still take precautionary measures to minimize radiation exposure. Patients wear protective thyroid collars and lead body aprons.
You might be pleasantly surprised to learn that your child may not need to have X-rays taken at every dental appointment. However, answering one of parents’ most frequently asked questions – How often do my kids need X-rays? – is different for everyone. Each child’s dental health is unique, so needs vary among our patients. We order them only after reviewing your child’s health history.
Generally speaking, children require more frequent X-rays than adults because they are growing and they are more susceptible to decay. For children who are at high risk for tooth decay, we may recommend X-rays every six months. Children who are at low risk may need them less often.
Our office follows the guidelines created by the American Dental Association for prescribing dental X-rays for children and people with special needs. These guidelines have been adopted by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, which has participated in reviewing and revising these guidelines as needed through the years.
You can learn more about dental X-ray guidelines here.
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