Pediatric Dental X-Rays


What are Dental X-Rays?

Dental x-rays are a diagnostic tool regularly used by pediatric dentists to detect tooth decay and changes in bone structure, as well as evaluate the results of a dental injury, the development of teeth, and the need for orthodontic treatment. There are several different types of dental x-rays, and each has a distinct purpose in diagnosing potential dental issues that aren’t easily detected in a regular cleaning or exam.

For young patients, dental x-rays can be just as important in their smile journey as routine cleanings. Our pediatric dentists at Dentistry for Children Virginia work to keep your child safe and comfortable during dental x-rays. Dental x-rays are designed to detect dental health issues so your dentist can treat those issues before they become a larger concern.

Why Do Children Need Dental X-Rays?

Dental x-rays are essential for surveying the extent of a cavity, but they also do so much more for your child’s smile. X-rays are also used to take a look at erupting teeth and how your child’s mouth is developing, diagnose bone disease, plan orthodontic treatment, or get a closer look at a dental injury.

Due to the rapidly growing pace of a child’s mouth and jaw, children generally need x-rays more often than adults. Dental x-rays allow your child’s dentist to track progress of their growth and treat any potential problems before they arise. Children’s teeth are also more susceptible to cavities than adult teeth, so closer monitoring of signs of tooth decay is important in maintaining healthy smiles for life. Our dentists recommend getting x-rays every 6 months to 1 year, depending on your child’s risk of caries.

Are Dental X-Rays Safe for Kids?

At Dentistry for Children Virginia, our dentists focus on the safety of your child and minimize the exposure to radiation as much as possible. Our office is equipped with contemporary safeguards, such as lead aprons, high speed film, digital x-rays, and thyroid collars. With these safeguards, the amount of radiation exposure your child may receive is extremely low. Thanks to modern technology and safety measures, undetected and untreated dental problems pose a higher health risk than the amount of radiation received during a dental x-ray.

Should I Be Worried About Radiation Exposure?

Our dentists pay close attention to the safety of our dental x-rays and only prescribe them when they feel it is necessary. Our team works to eliminate the exposure of radiation with lead aprons, high speed film, and thyroid collars. X-rays are taken quickly and only when recommended by your child’s dentist. Leaving a dental issue undetected creates a greater health risk than the exposure to radiation.

When Should Children Get X-Rays?

Our dentists recommend dental x-rays every 6 months to 1 year, but the frequency will be determined by your child’s individual needs. Your child’s dentist will determine their risk of developing cavities and look at your child’s age, dental history, and activity level to decide on the best schedule for x-rays. We follow the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry’s guidelines for evaluating your child’s caries risk and that helps our team understand your child’s unique dental needs.

Types of Dental X-Rays

  • Bitewing X-Ray: A bitewing x-ray is traditionally used to survey how the upper and lower back molars matchup in your child’s bite. Bitewing x-rays are also used to detect cavities in the back molars that wouldn’t normally be seen during a regular exam. Images are taken on both sides of the mouth by biting down on a piece of film, producing a single image of the teeth.
  • Occlusal X-Ray: Occlusal x-rays are used to evaluate the placement and development of a child’s erupting teeth. These x-rays take an image of the entire arch of teeth on the upper or lower jaw. Occlusal x-rays help dentists detect any abnormalities in the patient’s growing palate and allow them to treat the issue early on.
  • Panoramic X-Ray: Panoramic x-rays are a lot like a panoramic photo you’d take with your iPhone! Panoramic x-rays provide one single image of your entire mouth. The arm of the x-ray machine rotates around the front of your head to capture the whole image of your teeth. These x-rays can also help evaluate the placement and development of teeth and are regularly used to determine the need for orthodontic treatment.
  • Periapical X-Ray: Periapical x-rays are taken similarly to a bitewing x-ray, but only focus on 1 or 2 teeth at a time. These x-rays capture an entire tooth or small section of teeth from root to crown. Pediatric dentists use periapical x-rays to detect any abnormalities or changes in the root or bone structure of the tooth.

Contact Us Today to Schedule a Dental X-Ray!

Dentistry for Children is here for the little smiles of Northern Virginia! Contact us to schedule a dental x-ray today at one of our conveniently located offices in Herndon or Fairfax!

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