Radiography/X Rays

How often should your child have dental x-rays?

Since every child is unique, the need for X-rays varies from child to child.  Films are taken after a medical history review and clinical examination has been performed.  In general, children need X-rays more often than adults.  Their mouths grow and change rapidly and are more susceptible to tooth decay.  The frequency of X-rays is determined by your child’s individual needs and only recommended when necessary to evaluate and monitor  your child’s oral health.  In children at high risk, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends X-ray examinations every 6 months to detect cavities between the teeth.  Children with a lower risk require X-rays less frequently. 

How safe are dental X-rays?

There is very little risk in dental X-rays. Pediatric dentists are especially careful to limit the amount of radiation to which children are exposed. Our office uses high speed film, digital radiography.  This form of computerized radiography uses a standard dental x-ray generator as its radiation source.

Lead body aprons and shields used help protect your child.  An intra-oral sensor that is placed in the mouth collects the image.  The benefit of digital radiography is that it reduces radiation exposure 80-90% compared to traditional radiographs which means less exposure and less risk. In fact, dental X-rays represent a much smaller risk than undetected and untreated dental problems.


X-rays detect much more than cavities.  They may be needed to survey erupting teeth, diagnose bone lesions and disease, evaluate the results of injuries or assess growth and development.  They allow dentists to diagnose and treat conditions unable to be detected during a clinical examination. If dental problems are detected early, dental care is more comfortable and affordable.