It is very common for a dentist to recommend that your child gets an x-ray. Most commonly, x-rays are taken once a year. They provide the dentist with a variety of information on your child’s teeth. It helps dentists see if a child’s teeth are coming in properly if there are any issues with permanent teeth including misalignment or impacted teeth. It also allows dentists to check for cavities and other abnormalities. However, many parents are concerned about having their younger children participate in x-rays. That is why we are writing this guide on X-ray radiation.
At some point in your life, you may have received an X-ray. X-rays work by using radiation that penetrates the body to make images of bone structure as well as tooth structure. It may sound dangerous to expose yourself or your child to radiation, but radiation is natural. Every day our bodies take in radiation from the sun and from other sources. Large amounts of radiation can cause damage which made lead to radiation poisoning. But x-rays use a very small amount of radiation. Generally speaking, x-rays are completely harmless for children and adults. However, a dentist will still take precautions.
A dentist will take a few precautions when taking x-rays for a child or adult. First, a child will be asked to put on a specially designed vest. These vests protect their bodies and internal organs from being exposed to the x-rays. That said, dental x-rays use less radiation than medical x-rays would for a broken bone or another health issue. This coat is designed to protect the child from any unnecessary radiation. Generally speaking, we only want to x-ray the area we are looking at, which is why we use lead shielding to protect any areas we aren’t looking at.
Once again, the x-rays used in most dentists are practically harmless. By comparison, a standard CT scan uses hundreds of times of more radiation than a dental x-ray. However, there are precautions to make sure your child is not overexposed. On our end we use shielding, and we typically only x-ray once a year. From a parent standpoint, make sure to tell your dentist if your child has recently had other x-rays done. Knowing about multiple scans can help us make sure we are not increasing the risk of radiation exposure.
If you have other questions about x-rays or dental questions in general, please do not hesitate to reach out to us through our online contact form.