Are Dental X-Rays Safe for Kids?
“Are dental x-rays safe for kids?” is a concern that many parents have when their child’s dentist recommends pediatric dental radiography.
At Frisco Kid’s Dentistry, we take children’s dental x-ray safety very seriously, which is why we use the most advanced digital radiography that produces the lowest levels of radiation possible (80% less than conventional x-rays). While this state-of-the-art technology has further minimized the previously low risk involved with pediatric radiography, we never recommend x-rays for children indiscriminately.
Frisco Kid’s Dentistry adheres to the “as low as reasonably achievable” (ALARA) principle, only advising dental x-rays for children after clinical examination and identifying a need for further diagnostic information, as recommended by the American Dental Association (ADA) and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD).
How Often Can My Child Safely Have Dental X-rays?
The AAPD recommends that pediatric dental x-ray frequency be based upon the needs of each individual patient rather than having set guidelines concerning the recommended age for pediatric radiography.
The AAPD recommendations on conditions which necessitate dental x-rays in children include:
- History of dental caries (cavities)
- A family history of dental problems
- Dental trauma or abnormal dental pain
- Periodontal disease
- Unusual oral sensitivity or bleeding
- Loose teeth other than natural primary tooth loss
- Abnormal tooth eruption, development, or color
- Tooth erosion
Children’s dental x-rays are typically recommended every 6-12 months if these conditions are present. Your pediatric dentist will advise you when your child needs to have dental x-rays and how often your child’s teeth should be x-rayed based on your child’s diagnostic and preventative needs.
For children with no history of dental problems who are not experiencing any unusual dental circumstances, x-rays are generally recommended every 12 months or longer to identify cavities and confirm the healthy progression of primary and permanent tooth eruption, as well as jaw bone development. Keep in mind that the AAPD and ADA assure parents that modern technology allows for only an extremely small amount of radiation to be necessary for children’s dental x-rays, making them safer than ever before.
Extra Steps to Make Your Child’s Dental X-rays Safer
At Frisco Kid’s Dentistry, your child’s health and safety is our top priority. Although today’s x-ray machines ensure that only a single beam is emitted, which avoids scattered radiation, we take additional precautions to safeguard our young patients, including:
- Utilizing advanced digital radiography to minimize radiation, restrict the x-ray beam to the shape and size of the digital sensor being used, and shorten the exposure time
- Performing pediatric dental x-rays only when necessary
- Using protective lead aprons and thyroid shields for every x-ray
Practicing good oral hygiene regularly 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.
As a parent with genuine concerns about the safety of dental x-rays for children, you can rest assured that modern x-ray technology has made pediatric radiography safer than it has ever been, and the benefits of dental radiographs far outweigh any potential risk from the minimal level of radiation present during your child’s dental x-ray.
If you have questions or concerns about pediatric dental x-ray safety, please contact our office at 214-618-5200 for more information. It is our desire at Frisco Kid’s Dentistry to not only create a safe, comfortable, and enjoyable atmosphere for our patients but to put parents’ minds completely at ease concerning their child’s dental treatment. So are dental x-rays safe for kids? Under the right circumstances, with the right equipment, yes, dental x-rays are safe for children. We value the trust that parents place in our staff and are always available to address any parental concerns that may arise.