Why X-Rays are Necessary for Protecting Your Child’s Dental Health

It’s only natural for careful parents to want to know everything about procedures that pediatric dentists recommend to their children. They wish to understand the necessity of these things in order to protect their children’s wellbeing.

An X-ray is actually a valuable diagnostic tool. Some parents tend to find their children too young for X-rays and don’t believe it’s an important step in a dental check-up. But with an x-ray, dentists can educate parents on what pieces of data they derive from it in order to ensure children’s dental health and development.

Here are what X-rays reveal:

  • how your child’s teeth are coming in,
  • the number, size, and positioning of your child’s teeth beneath the gums,
  • if there are extra or missing teeth,
  • if there are injuries,
  • if there’s any type of infection (especially if your child’s been complaining about pains),
  • if your child will require braces when he gets older,
  • if there are risks of developing bone diseases,
  • and if cavities are developing between teeth, which are difficult to see with the usual visual exam.

X-rays are only recommended depending on the need for more information about your child’s dental health. Therefore, there are children who are required to get an X-ray every six months and those who aren’t for a couple to several years.

Five types of X-rays are used for children and they are the following:

  • Bitewing X-rays – These are also cavity-detecting X-rays and they are used to inspect to view those spots between teeth that cannot be seen in a typical visual inspection. With these X-rays, dentists are able to see where cavities are developing on the teeth at the back of the mouth, or which teeth are touching each other.
  • Periapical X-rays — These can show the entire crowns and roots of up to three teeth that are next to one another. The X-rays also provide a view of the supporting bone structure of the teeth. This lets the dentist see a child’s permanent teeth developing beneath the baby teeth. It can also spot abscesses and periodontal disease.
  • Panoramic X-rays — These are used to see all of the teeth on one film. They also show the upper and lower jaws, the temporomandibular joints (TMJs) and the sinuses above the upper teeth.

These are necessary for patients who:

  • has hurt his or her face,
  • has orthodontic problems,
  • is mentally or physically disabled.

Panoramic X-rays do not require a film to be put in the child’s mouth. This is an advantage for little kids who have an active gag reflex or have mouths too small for X-ray films.

  • Occlusal X-rays — These provide a view of most of the upper or lower teeth on one film. This is useful when the dentist does not have a panoramic X-ray machine or when the child cannot take bitewing or periapical X-rays.
  • Orthodontic X-rays (also called cephalometric or lateral skull) — This shows the head from the side and it’s useful in properly assessing the growth of the jaws and the relationship of the bones in the skull. It allows an orthodontist make an accurate diagnosis and develop an orthodontic treatment plan.

You don’t have to worry about your children being exposed to radiation when they get dental X-rays; exposure is very minimal and won’t cause any harmful effects. If your child needs an x-ray, please contact us to set up an appointment!

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