Dental x-rays are important tools that pediatric dentists use to tell how their patients’ teeth are developing. Certain dental issues are difficult to detect without x-rays, especially if the problems are below the surface. Here are common problems x-rays can help bring to light:

  • Crowded teeth
  • Cavities
  • Impacted wisdom teeth
  • Underdeveloped tooth bones
  • Periodontal disease

The doctor gets a deeper look at the position of unerupted teeth and potential abscesses to evaluate the child’s dental health. Identifying and treating problems early on can prevent costly, time-consuming, and even painful procedures later on.

Many parents are concerned about how x-rays can affect their children, but the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) states that the amount of radiation received during an x-ray is so small that it likely has no effect. There are also guidelines already in place from the AAPD to ensure x-rays are properly operated, especially on children and teens. Parents should not be worried about bringing their children to the dentist because of x-rays.

Going to the dentist every 6 months is vital to your child’s dental health. To learn more about dental checkups and oral hygiene for kids, check out our parent guide below.

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Are dental x-rays dangerous?

The benefits of getting dental x-rays far outweigh any potential side effects (which are extremely uncommon), but we understand that parents may still be concerned. At Kids Healthy Teeth, our pediatric dentists use low radiation x-rays to examine their patients’ teeth, jaws, and overall oral health. During the process, we make sure to protect children from any radiation exposure with proper equipment. The procedure is used in almost all dental practices and there’s nothing to be afraid of!

How often are dental x-rays taken?

A child usually gets their first x-ray when the dentist cannot visibly see the area between a child’s back teeth and most of the baby teeth have grown in. This is usually around the age 5 or 6, but x-rays can be taken earlier if the child is at risk of tooth decay or gum disease. After that, x-rays are usually taken every 12 – 24 months, depending on whether how cavity-prone the child is.