How Often Are X-rays Needed in Pediatric Dentistry?

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Pediatric Dentist Santa Clara, CA

Dental X-rays are important diagnostic tools in pediatric dentistry. X-rays allow your pediatric dentist to see and treat various problems, including childhood cavities, before they worsen. This can help ensure your child’s teeth are healthy and can potentially save you money. Keep reading to learn more about the importance of X-rays and how often X-rays are needed.

Pediatric dentistry

The need for dental X-rays can be determined after reviewing a child’s health history and completing a clinical examination. There are many areas of a child’s mouth that dentists cannot see during a clinical examination. X-rays are usually taken when they can yield information that a visual exam cannot. The frequency of getting X-rays often depends on a child’s individual needs.

But in general, children need more X-rays than adults since their teeth and jaws are still developing, and their teeth are smaller. Decay can, in turn, reach the inner part of the tooth, the dentin, quicker. It can also spread more rapidly. Young people are usually more vulnerable to tooth decay than adults. For kids with a high risk of tooth decay, dentists may recommend X-ray exams more often to help detect cavities developing between the teeth. On the other hand, kids with a low risk require them less frequently.

Types of X-rays

A dentist may recommend different types of X-rays depending on the image they are looking for. The various types of X-rays usually record slightly different views of the mouth. Bitewing X-rays are often used to look at the crowns of the lower and upper teeth in one area of the patient’s mouth. These X-rays are used to detect decay between teeth. Periapical X-rays are also widely used since these X-rays show the whole tooth from the crown to the root. This X-ray is commonly used to look for cavities or problems with the root of the tooth or surrounding jawbone.

Risks of dental X-rays

The amount of radiation received during a dental X-ray is very small. But it is still vital to keep the radiation amount as low as possible. There are many ways to ensure that a child is exposed to the lowest amount of radiation possible. The X-ray equipment dentists use today allows them to focus the X-ray beam on a particular area. This helps to minimize radiation exposure. Equipment such as lead body aprons and shields also protect children during their procedure.

Visit your pediatric dentist

Dental X-rays are vital tools in pediatric dentistry that can help your child’s dentist to diagnose disease or damage to your child’s teeth. Some factors that determine how often teeth should be X-rayed include a child’s current condition and medical and dental history. Although kids with a low risk of tooth decay do not need X-rays as often, it is still vital to practice good oral hygiene at home. This will help reduce the need for X-rays. In general, X-rays in pediatric dentistry can be used to diagnose dental issues or to guide treatment. If you have any questions or concerns about pediatric dental X-rays, talk to your child’s dentist.

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