Pediatric dentistry is an area of dentistry that focuses on the oral health of children. Starting good dental hygiene habits early in life is important. As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states, more than 50% of children under the age of nine have had at least one cavity in their baby teeth, and…
Basic Guidelines for Pediatric Dental X-rays
Pediatric dental X-rays are imaging tests that help dentists to determine what is going on in structures inside a child’s mouth. While there are misconceptions that X-rays expose patients to dangerous levels of radiation, pediatric dental X-rays actually emit less radiation than most home appliances, like a television.
X-rays are forms of radiant energy, just like radio waves or light waves. X-rays are more energetic than visible light rays, and unlike light rays, they can penetrate the body. This makes it possible for a radiologist to use X-rays to create a picture of what the insides of a person’s body look like.
Guidelines for pediatric dental-rays
People are regularly exposed to radiation from the sun, and many of the devices used daily, like smartphones and vehicles. This radiation can damage or alter living tissues, particularly when absorbed in high doses.
Medical tests like X-rays produce very small doses of radiation that are highly unlikely to lead to any problems. That does not mean these treatments are completely risk-free, however. Some schools of thought are concerned about children who are exposed to radiation early on having a higher risk of developing cancer later in life.
The type of X-ray performed also affects how much radiation that the child is exposed to. For example, continuous X-rays can lead to the child absorbing more radiation than if a single X-ray was used. A CT scan also exposes your child to more radiation than a single X-ray.
Reasons that pediatric dental X-rays might be recommended
Dental X-rays help dentists get a clearer picture of what is going on underneath a child’s gums. They can be used to diagnose cavities in teeth roots or issues with the bone structures that support teeth. They enable the dentist to make a more accurate evaluation of the child’s dental health. The ways that parents can help minimize radiation from dental X-rays include:
- Talk to the dentist if they think that the child is getting too many X-ray tests
- Only approve continuous X-rays or CT scans when the benefit for the child has been clearly explained
- Avoid having the child repeat X-ray tests
- Ask the dentist if other tests emit less radiation
Radiation exposure from dental X-rays does not lead to any short-term issues, and there is no clear evidence that it causes significant problems in the long term. The amount of radiation that a child is exposed to during their appointment is negligible compared to the radiation that the child is exposed to daily from sunlight.
Still, these imaging tests should be kept to a minimum, and dentists already know this. If an X-ray is being requested, the child likely needs it.
X-rays help keep your child healthy
The small doses of radiation X-rays that your child can be exposed to are nothing compared to the benefits of being able to see what is going on underneath their gums. It allows for early diagnoses of developing issues, like root infections and cavities. Give us a call or stop by our Richmond clinic to set up an appointment with our dentist.
Check out what others are saying about our dental services on Yelp: Pediatric Dental X-rays in Richmond, TX.
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