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…
Reasons to Consider Digital X-Rays at Your Child’s Pediatric Dental Check-Up
Dentists advise parents to schedule a child's first visit to a pediatric dental office following the first tooth's eruption. After that, a thorough examination of a child's developing jaw and teeth may require X-rays. Many dentists and parents overwhelmingly prefer digital X-rays over standard X-rays.
Taking digital X-rays starts with placing a lead apron on a child. Next, a small sensor that connects to a computer or scanner is inserted into a child's mouth to immediately capture an image of a tooth that displays on a nearby monitor. Most often, children undergo the process without discomfort.
Why should parents opt for digital X-rays?
Digital X-rays come with a wide range of benefits over traditional film X-rays. As more dentists offer digital X-rays, parents are becoming aware of the following advantages.
Professional medical resources, including MedlinePlus, confirm that digital X-rays emit considerably less radiation than conventional X-rays. Although a single traditional X-ray session does not expose children to significant amounts of radiation, many parents prefer to avoid repeated exposure because the effects can be cumulative. Instead, opting for digital dental X-rays eliminates much of the concern around taking images during routine pediatric dental check-ups.
Unlike traditional film X-rays that provide small film images, digital X-rays project images onto a monitor that dentists can adjust for size, clarity, and shading to assist with detecting the subtlest conditions that may pose future problems. Dentists can also simultaneously compare images of multiple digital X-rays in great detail to see the slightest changes in the teeth or jaw and administer timely treatment. For example, digital images allow dentists to detect developing cavities that are still reversible, thereby preventing significant decay.
Digital X-rays project images onto a monitor immediately upon scanning. Alternatively, a dentist must first develop film X-rays before viewing them, adding up to 30 minutes to a dental appointment.
Although a dental office must invest in the technology necessary to take digital X-rays, the high price of X-ray film is unnecessary. As a result, patients can benefit from significant cost savings.
To share traditional dental X-rays with a dental specialist whose input may be necessary, a pediatric dentist may need to duplicate and mail the film. This process can be costly and time-consuming. On the other hand, digital X-rays allow a pediatric dentist to instantly share results with a specialist via email to determine a course of action while the child and parent are together at the pediatric dental office.
Disposing of conventional X-ray films can allow lead contaminants to negatively impact the environment by penetrating the soil and entering the food system. However, digital X-rays do not require hazardous waste disposal, eliminating environmental risks.
FAQs about digital X-rays
Parents are often interested in knowing more about the dental treatments their child receives at pediatric checkups. Consider the following FAQs and get in touch with your dentist if you have further questions.
Can I skip my child's X-rays altogether?
It is not a good idea to skip X-rays completely, though if you are concerned about this procedure, it is a good idea to address your worries with your child's dentist. Pediatric dental X-rays can alert the dentist to a wide range of conditions that are impossible to detect with the naked eye. Therefore, your child will likely not need X-rays at every visit.
What conditions can dentists detect in pediatric X-rays?
Even if your child has never had trouble with their teeth, it is important to perform an occasional X-ray to check for problems in bone development, hidden cavities, and results of mouth injuries that may have happened during playtime or school sports. In addition, digital X-rays offer dentists a better opportunity to see what is happening in your child's mouth. For example, your child's routine X-rays may show cavities that have begun under the gumline (where they cannot be detected when the dentist performs an exam on your child's mouth), or they may show that your child's wisdom teeth are impacted.
Children who begin a routine pediatric dental regimen as early as possible have a lower risk of developing dental disease, and parents should not worry about their child receiving unnecessary X-rays. X-rays are used to track a child's dental development, but they are never used when they are not needed. In addition, many parents recognize the benefits of working with pediatric dentists who offer digital X-rays during check-ups as part of a comprehensive preventative oral health care plan.
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