The American Association of Pediatric Dentists (AAPD) do not have a specific age recommendation for when children get their first dental x-rays. This is because no two children are the same. Instead, the AAPD recommends that parents follow the advice of their pediatric dentist. Pediatric dentists are responsible for recommending x-rays for children based on needs, rather than age. That said, most children have their first x-rays by age 5, though some may receive them younger. Fortunately, today’s digital dental x-rays expose children to up to 90% less radiation than previous film x-rays, so they can safely be administered to even very young children.
Why are Pediatric Dental X-Rays Necessary?
Although the AAPD does not recommend dental x-rays by age, they do have guidelines that pediatric dentists adhere to when determining if a child needs an x-ray. Reasons a pediatric dentist may tell you that your child needs an x-ray to include:
- Bleeding gums
- Trauma (injury) to a tooth
- History of dental cavities
- Family history of dental problems or diseases
- Extremely sensitive teeth
- Swelling in the mouth
- Monitor healing and recovery after an injury
- Other symptoms or signs of a potential problem
Digital Dental X-Rays: Safety & Comfort Benefits for Kids
Today’s digital dental x-rays are invaluable diagnostic tools. They provide instant, high-quality images that are immediately viewable on a computer screen. The x-ray itself is entirely painless. Moreover, today’s digital dental x-ray machines are required by the FDA to have “child settings” that keep radiation exposure to a minimum. It takes less than one second to capture each image, and your child will be protected with a specialized apron and collar shield to protect their body from unnecessary radiation exposure. Although today’s x-rays are safe even for young children, your child will not have them at every visit.
Oral Health Conditions That X-Rays Are Used to Diagnose
Dental x-rays are used to accurately diagnose conditions that cannot be seen with the naked eye. To that end, digital dental x-rays for kids may be used to diagnose:
- Infection in a tooth or tooth root
- Impacted teeth
- Cavities that are just beginning to form between teeth
- Any lesions, cysts, or tumors that are forming
- Decay that is forming underneath fillings
- Gum disease
As your child gets older, dental x-rays are also helpful in determining if your child has enough space for the adult teeth to erupt. If your child’s mouth is not large enough for the adult teeth, interceptive orthodontic treatment with oral appliances such as space maintainers or palate expanders may be recommended. Early orthodontic intervention may shorten treatment time in adolescence.
Book a Dental Examination and Cleaning for Your Child Today
If your child hasn’t yet seen a dentist, or it’s been more than six months since their last exam and cleaning, contact Suffolk Pediatric Dentistry today. With five convenient locations in Suffolk County, our award-winning team of pediatric dentists and orthodontists are here to ensure your child receives exceptional oral health care beginning from their very first appointment.