Your pediatric dentist uses a number of techniques to assess the health of your child’s teeth, jaw, and mouth. One of them is dental X-rays. X-rays are beams of electromagnetic energy that pass through an area of the body and are blocked to different degrees by materials of different densities. These differences are used to produce a black and white image of the area.
What is called digital radiography is the most advanced form of X-ray technology. Where X-ray images used to be created on film that had to be developed, today’s X-rays are saved as digital computer files that can be viewed immediately. To ensure that X-rays are safe, dentists use what is known as the ALARA principle, meaning that patients are exposed to radiation doses that are well below the allowable limits and are “As Low As Reasonably Achievable.”
Why Do Dentists Take X-rays?
X-rays provide dentists with a wealth of information about a child’s teeth and jaw that would not otherwise be available. This includes indications of tooth decay or problems with the structure of the mouth, and in the case of dental injuries, the extent of the damage.
ally important for children, as it allows the dentist to be proactive about any issues that are arising during this period of fast growth and development. Consequently, the American Dental Association recommends that X-rays be taken starting at the age of two and every 6 to 12 months thereafter.
The Different Types Of Dental X-Rays
Dentists use different types of X-rays for different purposes. Four of the most common types of x-rays are:
- Bite-wing X-rays. Bite-wings give the dentist a good look at the crowns of the back teeth, and can be used to detect decay between the teeth. Typically one or two images are taken on each side of the mouth, producing a single image that shows both upper and lower teeth in one view.
- Panoramic X-rays. These X-rays show the entire mouth in one image. They can be used to determine the position of teeth that have not yet erupted. Panoramic X-rays are often used to plan orthodontic treatments.
- Occlusal X-rays. These images are used to assess tooth development and placement in children. They are larger than other X-ray images, and show nearly the full arch of teeth in either the upper or lower jaw.
- Periapical X-rays. A periapical X-ray is used to look at one or two teeth at a time. It is similar to a bite-wing image, but it shows the entire length of each tooth, from crown to root.
Helping Maintain Your Child’s Picture-Perfect Smile
X-rays are just one of the many tools we use to ensure your child’s teeth, jaw, and mouth are as healthy as possible. By identifying potential problems early, we can resolve them quickly and efficiently so that your child has very positive dental care experiences.
We’re proud to provide pediatric dental services along the Colorado Front Range in Lafayette (303.604.9500), Longmont (303.702.9501), and Thornton (303.452.9502). Contact us to make an appointment or learn more about our practice.