Children’s Dental X-rays 101: Types, Safety, and When to Get Them

October 12, 2022

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the American Dental Association recommends that children receive two full sets of dental x-rays before the age of 18, with at least one of those sets taken by age 4.

But what exactly are dental x-rays? And when should your child be getting them? This article answers these questions and more in our 101 guide on children’s dental x-rays!

When Do Children Need Dental X-Rays?

When deciding whether dental X-rays are necessary for your child, an experienced dentist will always weigh up risks against benefits, based on the youngster’s individual circumstances. Dental X-rays are never used indiscriminately, especially with children, because of the risk - albeit small - of radiation.

A child's first dental x-ray should occur when they are around 4 years old as this allows an evaluation of their root development at this time and can help detect potential problems before they become too large or complicated to correct later on.

A dentist can use dental x-rays to help diagnose certain conditions such as cavities, tooth decay, oral conditions, gum disease, for orthodontic purposes and more. Kids teeth x-ray can also be used to check if there is too much pressure on your child's jawbone (such as from clenching or grinding their teeth).

It can also be used to see if there is an abnormal growth around the nerve canal (which is often seen with tumors or cysts).

The Main Types Of Children's Dental X-Rays

  • Intraoral x-rays provide a clear view of the teeth inside the mouth.
  • Extraoral x-rays are taken from outside the mouth, showing detailed images of the upper and lower jaws.
  • Bitewing x-rays are taken by biting down on a small metal bar that has a film in it so your dentist can see each tooth individually.
  • Panoramic imaging is an extraoral x-ray that shows both the upper and lower jaw in one image.
  • CBCT technology works by  producing 3D computerized models of kids teeth x-rays that are made with minimum radiation exposure. Another thing we love about the CBCT dental x-rays is that they take only 60 seconds from start to finish. While traditional films can take up to 20 minutes from start to finish, this type of scan only requires a quick set up time and then boom - the information will be right there before your eyes.

Are Dental X-Rays Safe For Children?

Dental radiologists can interpret X-rays in detail to spot problems that would otherwise remain undetected, and X-rays play a crucial role in the diagnosis of teeth and gum issues, enabling appropriate action and treatment for your child (such as the need for a tooth extraction) before the problem worsens.

Many diagnosing procedures can carry some risk, but dental X-rays often yield information that brings many more benefits than risks in the long-term.

CBCT technology uses low levels of radiation to create an image that is sharp enough to show the fine details inside the mouth with 3D detail which means it is safe for kids who have small mouths and teeth.

The radiation dose from a dental CBCT scan is less than 1% of the amount of radiation exposure from a typical CT scan.

Reveal Diagnostics offers a variety of dental services including kids teeth x-ray scans, 3D imaging software, as well as radiologist reviews that help dentists make accurate diagnosis faster and more efficiently.

Benefits Of Children’s CBCT Dental Scans

A dental scan can help the dentist give a precise diagnosis and to detect any issues hidden beneath the surface of the teeth enamel and below the gum line. That way dentists can get a clearer picture of what's going on in their patient's mouth without having to do any drilling or poking around.

It is safe for children because it provides high-resolution images that are of higher quality than traditional x-rays. This can help identify any issues with the teeth or mouth before they become severe. 

Reveal Diagnostics has been providing dentists and dental professionals with dental CBCT technology since 2010 and our experienced team of dental technicians cover the full range of pediatric dental imaging investigations.

If your child needs a dental scan contact us today!

Resources From Our Blog

Are Dental X-Rays Safe? Here’s What the Science Says
How CBCT Sinus Scans are Helping ENT Patients
How Dental 3D Imaging Enhances Oral Health and Diagnostic Precision
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