Because children’s mouths are growing and changing constantly, and a visual inspection alone cannot tell your dentist everything they may need to know about your child’s mouth, eventually every child will need a dental X-ray. But are dental X-rays safe, and should your child have them taken?
What are the Facts Surrounding X-rays?
You can rest assured knowing that today’s dental X-rays are safer than ever before. So safe, in fact, that the amount of radiation that a child is exposed to in a bite-wing X-ray (image of the back molars) is roughly equivalent to the amount of radiation they are exposed to in the environment on a daily basis. And many dental offices today use digital X-rays, which use roughly 80 percent less radiation than conventional film X-rays, so the effects may be even less.
How X-rays Are Beneficial
The benefits to kids' dental health from obtaining X-rays, including diagnosing decay, pathology or any abnormalities, far outweigh the risks of being exposed to this minimal dose of radiation. And while X-rays are proven to be relatively harmless, you can ensure your child is even safer by making sure they wear a lead apron with a lead thyroid collar to further minimize any potential impact.
Since all children are different, their need for x-rays will vary as well. Often times an X-ray is utilized to help your dentist diagnose developments that cannot be viewed through a visual examination. Children are generally more susceptible to tooth decay than adults, and children with a high risk of tooth decay are recommended to have X-rays taken every six months. Lower risk children may require X-rays less frequently (as seldom as every two or three years), so you can significantly cut the number of your child’s X-rays by promoting good oral health at home.