When is it Safe to Give a Child Their First Dental X-Ray?

When is it Safe to Give a Child Their First Dental X-Ray?

Team Child

As a parent, you want to be sure your child gets the right dental care at the right time. You may wonder, when is it safe for your child to have their first dental X-ray? And why are X-rays important? Here’s information to help you know what to expect as your child’s smile takes shape!

Guidance for Pediatric Dental X-Rays

When it comes to dental X-rays, there’s no set rule on when they should start. Most likely, the first X-ray will be given well after a child’s first dental visit. The specific timing of X-rays depends on each patient and what’s happening in their mouth, according to guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.

These guidelines give dentists a framework to use in deciding when to recommend X-rays for their young patients. For example, does the child have a history of cavities, or is he or she experiencing tooth pain or trauma?

Diagnosing and monitoring different conditions should begin with an evaluation in the dentist’s office and a review of the child’s medical history. X-rays may sometimes be recommended as a valuable next step when more information is needed.

What Are Digital Dental X-Rays?

Digital dental X-rays, sometimes called digital radiographs, are a newer way to get images of the mouth than the traditional X-rays that were used years ago. Digital X-rays can offer benefits such as:

  • reduced radiation exposure during the imaging procedure
  • instant, high-quality images that can be viewed immediately

These images can provide a more detailed view of the teeth and show what’s happening underneath the gum line. This can help diagnose problems such as decay, bone defects, tumors, and cysts, and check the progress of previous procedures. X-rays can also show issues such as missing teeth or potential concerns about incoming teeth that may need to be addressed. 

Are X-Rays Safe for Your Child?

Modern X-ray equipment is helping to make getting an X-ray safer than ever for kids today. With that said, X-rays are a form of electromagnetic radiation that has been linked to cancer risks. Therefore, pediatric dentists take great care to limit the amount of radiation used with young patients and ensure adherence to safety standards. This includes following the “as low as reasonably achievable” (ALARA) principle to minimize radiation exposure. Also, using lead aprons on children during imaging procedures provides an extra measure of protection.

Following established guidelines and protocols helps ensure kids get the valuable diagnostic and health benefits of X-rays with minimal risks. If you have questions about dental X-rays for your child, talk with your family’s pediatric dentist about protocols and treatments to support your child’s best possible dental and overall health.

Schedule a Pediatric Dental Appointment in Orange County

Here at Orange County Pediatric Dentistry, dental X-rays are one of many preventive and diagnostic services we offer as part of our comprehensive pediatric care. To learn more or schedule an appointment, contact us today.