When you take your child for a dental visit, the dentist will perform a comprehensive examination. This exam may include taking an X-ray of your child’s teeth. Dental X-rays help your dentist provide a thorough examination of teeth and bones, but are they safe?

Dental X-rays are generally safe for kids—provided the right dosage is used. Read on to find out more information about this procedure.

When to Take X-rays of Kid’s Teeth

According to the American Dental Association (ADA) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA), high-risk preschoolers who have had cavities in their primary teeth should have X-rays of their teeth taken every six to twelve months. However, those who have never had a cavity should undergo X-rays only every one to two years.

Dentists are advised to first visually examine the teeth for decay. X-rays may be required more often when your child develops adult teeth. Because adult teeth are bigger than primary teeth, it’s typically more difficult for the dentist to see between the teeth to identify signs of decay.

Nonetheless, there should be a justifiable reason for taking an X-ray for kid’s teeth. These reasons may include:

  • Pain and discomfort
  • Impacted teeth
  • Visible decay
  • Inexplicable bleeding
  • Shifting teeth
  • Inability to see between teeth

AreDental X-raysSafe for Children?

According to experts, you should minimize your kid’s exposure to dental x-rays as much as possible. Keep in mind, however, that there are instances where x-rays are inevitable and beneficial. When it comes to the safety of X-rays for kids, here are a few things to know:

  • Kids are more sensitive to radiation exposure compared to adults. That means children are at higher risk of x-ray radiation-induced cancer than adults.
  • X-ray equipment typically has settings appropriate for adults. This leads to too much radiation for kids. It’s advisable for dentists to use modern X-ray systems, as they allow for the setting of appropriate x-ray dosage for kids.

In fact, it is promising that many dental offices today have invested in digital X-rays. Digital X-rays are safer than traditional film X-rays, as they emit at least 80% less radiation.