Taking dental x-rays are often a necessary part of the diagnostic process when a child comes in for an exam or treatment. Dr. Wilkerson uses digital x-rays to see beyond what can be seen by the naked eye, including health conditions or early orthodontic interception issues. The good news is, today’s digital x-ray technology has drastically reduced radiation exposure because digital images only take a fraction of a second to produce. Without a digital x-ray, dental conditions can be missed and left untreated. Rest assured, we never recommend x-rays for children indiscriminately.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that x-ray frequency be based upon the needs of each individual patient rather than set age guidelines. Conditions which necessitate dental x-rays in children include:
- A history of cavities or dental problems
- Dental trauma or abnormal pain
- Unusual oral sensitivity or bleeding
- Loose teeth other than natural primary tooth loss
- Abnormal tooth eruption, development, or color
- Periodontal disease
- Tooth erosion
How Often Should Digital x-rays be Performed?
Dr. Wilkerson will advise you how often your child’s teeth should be x-rayed based on your their diagnostic and preventative needs. General guidelines for the frequency of x-rays for children are as follows:
- For children with no history of decay or gum disease, x-rays are performed annually to identify cavities and confirm the healthy progression of primary and permanent tooth eruption, as well as jaw bone development.
- For children with obvious decay, gum disease x-rays should be performed every six months.
- A full set of x-rays, including panoramic and bitewings, is recommended every three years.
Digital x-ray Safeguards
Dr. Wilkerson takes extra precautions to safeguard our little patients, including:
- Using digital radiography to minimize radiation and shorten the exposure time.
- Performing pediatric dental x-rays only when necessary.
- Using protective lead aprons and thyroid shields for every x-ray.
Parents should keep in mind that Dr. Wilkerson and his office staff is particularly careful about using all safeguards available to protect your child from radiation exposure. With today’s high-speed equipment and safety measures in place, the amount of radiation exposure is minimal and the risk to your child is negligible. Practicing good oral hygiene is the best precaution that can be taken! Children who have a low risk for tooth decay need x-rays less often, thus further minimizing their exposure to radiation.