Dental X-rays Safe for Children When Necessary
Children are unique, and their need for dental X-rays varies too. Delta Dental of Arkansas encourages parents to be well informed about how often their children have dental X-rays.
X-rays are valuable tools for finding problems in teeth and the bones surrounding teeth. However, all X-rays use ionizing radiation that can potentially cause damage. Though it’s spread out in tiny doses, the effect of radiation from years of X-rays is cumulative. The risks associated with this radiation are greater for children than for adults. X-rays are important tools for dentists to diagnose dental diseases. However, they don’t need to be part of every exam. They should be ordered only after the dentist has examined the mouth and has determined that X-rays are needed to make a proper diagnosis. In general, children and adults at low risk for tooth decay and gum disease need X-rays less frequently.
The purpose of an X-ray is to allow dentists to see signs of disease or potential problems that aren't visible to the naked eye. They are usually ordered after the dentist has done a clinical exam and considered any signs and symptoms, oral and medical history, diet, hygiene, fluoride use and other factors that might suggest a higher risk of hidden dental disease. So be sure that your dentist checks your child’s teeth, health history and risk factors before they decide an X-ray is necessary.
Even though the individual risk from a necessary X-ray is quite small when compared to the benefit of aiding accurate diagnosis or guiding a treatment, dentists are encouraged to follow the ALARA principle, which is “As Low As Reasonably Achievable.” In other words, only order what is absolutely needed to make a diagnosis.