Smile Child Dental Checkup

How safe are dental x-rays?

It’s normal for parents to be concerned about the safety of dental x-rays. Rest assured though, they are extremely safe.

What is a dental x-ray?

Dental x-rays are useful diagnostic tools. Dental x-rays help pediatric dentists in many ways.

Dental X-Ray Functions

Smile Child Dental Checkup

  • Seeing how a child’s teeth are coming in,
  • Determining the size, position and number of teeth that remain inside the gums
  • Identifying missing or extra teeth
  • Finding infection in the mouth or teeth
  • Planning for future orthodontic treatment
  • Detecting cavities between teeth
  • Diagnosing problems that can’t be seen with a visual exam

Types of Dental X-Rays

There are four primary types of dental x-rays.

Bitewing X-Rays

These x-rays allow dentists to see the areas between teeth. They identify where and how cavities may be starting. Children get these x-rays after the teeth in the rear of the mouth touch one another.

Periapical X-Rays

Dentists use these x-rays to view the entire crown and roots of up to three consecutive teeth. The teeth’s bone structure and any permanent teeth growing below the baby teeth will be visible with this film. A periapical x-ray can also be used to find abscesses and gum disease.

Panoramic X-Rays

All of a child’s teeth can be seen on this type of x-ray as well as the upper and lower jaws, sinuses, and temporomandibular joints. They are often used to assess injuries or to guide orthodontic treatment.

Occlusal X-Rays

All the upper or all the lower teeth will be visible on one film with this type of x-ray. They can be used in place of a panoramic x-ray or if a child experiences difficulty with bitewing x-rays.

Are x-rays in any way dangerous?

With an x-ray, patients are exposed to radiation. That’s why lead aprons are placed on the person’s body during an x-rays and while pregnant women are advised not to have x-rays.

Pediatric dentists take measures to limit the amount of radiation that children receive during a dental x-ray. They do this by providing children with a lead apron to wear during the x-ray and by using high-speed film which limits the amount of radiation that must be used during the test.

While x-rays are not dangerous, they can be uncomfortable for some children. With bitewing x-rays, the film must be held inside the mouth while the picture is taken. This can sometimes cause discomfort in little mouths.

Our Houston pediatric dentistry service provides safe and effective dental x-rays to children throughout the Greater Houston area. Call us to schedule an appointment or for more information, today.