At What Age Should a Child Get Their First Dental X-Ray?

At What Age Should a Child Get Their First Dental X-Ray?

Team Pediatric Dentistry

Dental X-rays or radiographs are valuable diagnostic tools that allow practitioners to see inside a tooth and detect cavities and other problems. Children should receive their first dental X-rays at about two or three or whenever they receive regular dental care.

X-Ray Procedures for Young Children

Pediatric dentists have special procedures to help young children feel comfortable with X-rays. These dentists do their best to make X-rays easy for children, including using small in-mouth appliances and engaging the child in "taking pictures" of the teeth.

At first, the dentist takes X-rays of only the front teeth. This process is easier for the child and gives them positive initial experiences.

As the back teeth come in, the X-rays follow. When the child's teeth meet in the back of the mouth, it will be time to take X-rays of the premolars and molars. Children can sit still for extended periods as they grow, enabling a more extensive series of X-ray images.


Dental X-rays are a safe procedure, even for young children. Today's digital radiographs use a tiny fraction of the radiation employed in past decades. The hygienist will place a protective apron on your child before using the machine. X-rays have been proven safe in the doses used today.

We use state of the art digital x-rays at Suffolk Pediatric Dentistry which has lower radiation compared to traditional x-rays. 

Importance of X-Rays

The sharp and clear images a digital X-ray machine produces enable the dentist and parent to share necessary information and plan potential treatments.

With X-rays, the dentist can see hidden issues like the initial stages of tooth decay. They can also predict potential orthodontic problems from the placement of permanent teeth beneath the gums. Emerging problems may go untreated without X-rays, leading to more severe problems later in life.

Receiving X-rays as a toddler or preschooler helps children become accustomed to dental care routines. The valuable data gained from childhood X-rays help the pediatric dentist understand a child's dental development and how best to treat them going forward.

Early Childhood Dental Care is Vital

Receiving early care makes a vast difference in a child's dental health in later life. Children who see a dentist early on have a better chance of maintaining teeth with less gum disease and fewer cavities.

Ensure your child sees a pediatric dentist when the first teeth emerge, typically by their first birthday. Early care builds a trusting relationship between your child and the dentist. Continue taking your child to the pediatric dentist for cleanings and comprehensive exams twice per year.

Contact Suffolk Pediatric Dentistry

Contact us at one of our convenient offices to make an appointment for your child's first dental exam and X-rays. Even if your child is older than two or three, it is always a good time to build a positive association with the dentist's office.