Are Dental X-Rays Safe for my Child?
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
- 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 can dental X-rays can be 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 sign 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.