Routine Dental X-Rays for Kids

Many people ask if it is a good idea to get the children’s dental health examined through x-rays. Although this question is asked by every concerned parent, it is pretty hard for the dentists to give a generic distinct reply.

Well, the clearest answer you can get in this regard is to follow the ALARA approach while taking your kids for the dental x-rays. ALARA stands for “AS LOW AS REASONABLY ACHIEVABLE”. Having that said, you have to make sure that your children are getting exposure to x-rays as reduced as possible. However, you should not avoid x-rays test for your kids when pediatric dentist suggests you to get them examined this way. Avoiding x-rays in such situations can lead to health problems.

The concerns with dental x-rays for kids

  • Children are more sensitive against radiation than adults. Hence, they face greater risk of cancer due to radiation than adults.
  • Early exposure to x-rays can result in greater risk for cancer. The effects of radiation accumulate over time in order to cause cancer.
  • Most of the times, the x-ray equipment are set for the adults. Hence, the tests run on the children using same setting can result in extra exposure of children to the radiation.

Use for dental examinations

While you can certainly ask your doctor to skip x-rays for any other health condition when you know enough about your problem and taking x-rays test wouldn’t make much difference. But there are some conditions in which the doctors may insist. Similarly, dentists do not usually suggest x-rays for normal checkups. However, the suggestion of it cannot be ignored because dentists have good reason to put your against x-rays. Especially the children need to be kept away from x-rays. However, some scenarios may suggest necessity of x-rays in this regard. Some of those conditions are poor health, tooth decay, teeth’s crowding, and cavities.

Deciding on whether or not to go for kid’s dental x-rays

First of all, you will have to make sure that x-ray recommendation is coming from a qualified dentist, not from the dental office staff members. Furthermore, you will have to make sure that your dentist is following ALARA guidelines.

Then you can examine by yourself if you have any other options than x-rays to get the problem diagnosed correctly. You might also find it helpful to predict the outcome in case of skipping the x-rays.

Safety tips

Another way to ensure safety is to make sure that you are going to digital x-rays which are far less harmful due to drastically low radiation use.

If it is the case of cavity, you can ask your dentist to consider the use of cavity detector which uses light wavelengths to measure the status of cavities in the teeth.