When a dentist wants to see the size or position of a patient’s teeth, he or she uses a dental x-ray. This device helps monitor the oral orifice. A dentist can detect teeth or gum injuries and prepare orthodontic treatment for a patient without the need of a thorough visual exam on the inside of the mouth. Indeed, the dental X-ray is a valuable tool at the dentist’s office.
Children generally need dental X-rays more frequently compared to adults. Since they are growing, children’s mouths change and develop rapidly. Also, they are more prone to tooth decay; thus, regular dental X-rays are needed to detect the presence of tooth cavities.
But how often should your child undergo dental X-ray exams?
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends one X-ray exam every six months. However, that is not a hard-and-fast rule since the need for an X-ray exam varies from one child to another. For instance, children prone to tooth decay need to undergo X-ray exams more frequently than kids who are at a lower risk of having tooth decay.
The risk of radiation in dental X-rays is extremely small under contemporary standards. Nevertheless, dentists are taking precautionary measures to minimize its effects. Lead aprons and shields are being used to protect the child patient from further exposure to radiation. In addition, recent advancements allow the equipment to filter out unnecessary X-ray beams and limit it only to the specific areas of the mouth, thus, minimizing the risk of radiation exposure in child patients.