The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) suggests that children should receive x-rays every few years if they are at average or low risk for tooth decay and orthodontic problems. However, the AAPD stops short of advising against more frequent x-rays, particularly for children at risk of decay or those who present with signs of orthodontic problems. In other words, your pediatric dentist is entrusted with determining how often each child needs x-rays and should only order them when a problem is suspected. It’s important to note that today’s digital x-rays emit 50% less radiation than film x-rays of years past, making them not only safer and more comfortable but eco-friendly as well.
Reasons Children Need Regular Dental X-Rays
Digital x-rays for kids are vital diagnostic tools that offer your pediatric dentist a look beneath the soft tissues to identify potential problems, including:
- Problems with bone structure
- Tumors, cysts, abscesses
- Tooth decay (cavities)
- Bone disease
- Orthodontic misalignment
- Problems with teeth development
- Impacted teeth
- Extra teeth
- Gum disease
Digital dental x-rays for kids are non-invasive and painless. Specialized sensors will be placed in your child’s mouth to scan the jaw, bones, and teeth. Each image is captured in a fraction of a second. The high-quality images are instantly viewable on the dentist’s computer and on the chairside digital flat screen monitor. Your dentist will point out any areas of concern that are revealed in the images.
Types of Digital Dental X-Rays Children May Need
There are several types of x-rays that your pediatric dentist may need to diagnose problems invisible to the naked eye.
Bitewing x-rays can diagnose cavities in the back molars, and allow the dentist to see if there is a misalignment in the bite of the back molars.
Panoramic x-rays capture an image of your entire mouth. These x-rays are used to evaluate the development of teeth, and are instrumental in determining the need for orthodontic treatment, such as Invisalign.
These x-rays are used to capture images of the entire upper or lower arch of teeth. They are often taken prior to the eruption of adult teeth, and can inform your pediatric dentist of the need for interceptive orthodontic treatment.
These x-rays capture images of a small section of teeth from their roots to the crowns. These x-rays are used to detect problems in tooth roots, or bone structure.
Your child’s digital x-rays take just minutes to complete. However, if your child is nervous, fearful, or has special needs, sedation options including nitrous oxide (laughing gas) is available. Nitrous oxide has been used for centuries in dental care. It is fast acting, safe, and the sedative effects wears off quickly.
Schedule a Pediatric Dental Appointment at Suffolk Pediatric Dentistry
Suffolk Pediatric Dentistry is an award-winning pediatric dental and orthodontic practice with offices in Port Jefferson Station, Smithtown, Wading River, and Sayville, NY. With more than a dozen experienced, gentle, and skillful pediatric and orthodontists, we are here to treat children from infancy through high school. To schedule an appointment for your child at Suffolk Pediatric Dentistry, contact us today.