Why Do Pediatric Dentists use X-Rays?
X-rays are a fundamental part of a pediatric dentist’s ability to diagnose and monitor the health of children’s dental health. Examinations that only rely on the visual examination of the doctor is not enough, because there are some aspects that the eye cannot see.
By taking x-rays, pediatric dentists will then be able to see much more, including:
- Baby and permanent teeth growing out or erupting
- Dental and bone disease
- Diagnose early orthodontic health or concerns
- Evaluate any oral injuries
- Causes of any swelling in the mouth
The ability to use x-rays allows dentists’ the most thorough and complete picture of the status of a child’s oral and dental health. X-rays are necessary to help diagnose cavities located in between teeth, which we are unable to detect by a regular oral exam and it also provides us information regarding the size of the cavities. Not only do x-rays detect decay, but also it provides us information regarding the growth pattern of erupting permanent teeth. Dental x-rays are also used to evaluate results from trauma, diagnose any bone disease or oral pathology, abscess or cyst development, tumor development, and plan orthodontic treatment.
Frequency of X-Ray Use
It is important to minimize the use of x-rays on patients as we don’t want to expose patients to large levels of radiation. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends the use of radiographs (x-rays) every 6 months for children with high risk of tooth decay.
Most pediatric dentists take x-rays once a year as we only want to be taking x-rays when there is cause for concern for dental disease or cavities.
The less the risk of tooth decay, the lower the need for taking x-rays. Therefore, if parents are particularly concerned about the use of x-rays, the healthier their children’s teeth are the less they will need an x-ray.
Are X-Rays Safe?
With the advancement of dental technologies, x-rays have gotten much safer over the decades.Digital x-rays today have 80%-90% less radiation than traditional film radiography. In addition, there are many modern tools used to help shield and protect your child from unnecessary x-ray exposure. These include lead body aprons and shields.
In addition, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry continually reports that the amount of radiation that is received during a dental x-ray is minor and represents a lower risk than than of leaving a tooth untreated and susceptible to dental disease.