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Are Dental X-Rays Safe for my Child?

child with xrays

Dental X-rays can be important for your child’s oral health, but you may also have concerns about the safety of these screenings.

What are dental X-rays?

Dental X-rays utilize radiation to take pictures of teeth, gums, and bones. X-rays can be intraoral or extraoral. Intraoral X-rays, which are more common, give a detailed view of the inside of the mouth, including teeth, bones, and supporting tissues. Extraoral X-rays are taken outside of the mouth.

What is the dentist looking for when doing X-rays?

X-rays allows your child’s dentist to do a more thorough examination than he or she can achieve through a visual inspection.

They can be used to check the following, among other conditions:

  • Genetic abnormalities
  • Cavities, especially those between the teeth
  • Injuries to one or more teeth after a trauma
  • Impact of teeth that haven’t yet erupted
  • Jawbone
  • Oral swelling
  • Bone loss or gum disease

What are the different types of dental X-rays?

There are many types of dental X-rays, and your dentist will use the type that will yield the information he or she is looking for:

  • Bitewing: shows crowns of upper and lower teeth in one area of the mouth to spot hard-to-see cavities
  • Periapical: shows one or two teeth from the crown to the root
  • Panoramic: shows whole mouth, including emerging teeth
  • Occlusal: shows entire top or bottom arch of teeth as well as how they fit together
  • Orthodontic: shows side of your child’s head as well as jaw and teeth
  • Cone Beam Computerized Tomography: provides a 3-D view to help check the spacing and development of your child’s teeth

Why are dental X-rays important for children?

Dental X-rays can allow your child’s dentist to see far beyond what a visual examination can reveal. They can be especially useful if your dentist sees signs of cavities, decay, poor health, or crowding of the teeth.

Are dental X-rays dangerous for children?

Radiation exposure has been linked to an increased cancer risk, but it’s the cumulative risk over a lifetime that matters. Your child can’t get it from one X-ray. X-rays can yield valuable information, so they may sometimes be important for maintaining your child’s oral health. However, exposure to X-rays should be minimized when possible. They should be performed for good reasons, but not necessarily as a matter of routine.

If your child needs routine dental care or if you have questions about the safety of X-rays, contact Park View Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics in NYC today. We use digital imaging to process dental X-rays, and they require less radiation than convention X-rays. Your child’s exposure to radiation is greatly reduced, and results are immediate. Call (212) 879-6518 today or fill out the form on this page to request an appointment.

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