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Why Does Your Pediatric Dentist Take X-Rays?

added on: February 8, 2021

X-Rays are detailed photographs that give an interesting look at our bones and help doctors find breaks. But did you know that x-rays are used for much more than identifying broken bones? In fact, your pediatric dentist in Chattanooga uses x-rays to see parts of your mouth and teeth that can’t be seen with the naked eye and are an important part of pediatric dentistry. 

What’s Your Pediatric Dentist Looking For? 

At your child’s dental appointments, the dentist may take some x-rays of your child’s teeth and mouth. These x-rays can help your pediatric dentist keep a close eye on how your child’s teeth are developing and can even give them a peek into the future. Pediatric dental x-rays can show both the baby teeth and the permanent teeth that are waiting to erupt. The specialized view of x-rays shows changes in the mouth as your child grows and can show early signs of potential problems so you can take a preventive approach. But dental x-rays aren’t only about teeth. The images can also see any concerns with the jaw bone and soft tissues. 

X-rays allow your pediatric dentist in Chattanooga to see things such as: 

  • Decay between teeth
  • Decay under fillings or other dental restorations
  • Infections inside the tooth
  • Whether your child may need orthodontics 

Are Dental X-Rays Safe For Kids? 

Advancements in dental technology, including x-ray technology, make dental x-rays incredibly safe for all patients, including children. In fact, digital dental x-rays emit one of the lowest forms of radiation. According to the Kois Center for dental education, four bitewing x-rays emit only 0.005 mSv (millisieverts), which is less than what we’re exposed to every day. Additionally, since dental x-rays are usually only done once a year, although sometimes more, they’re nothing to worry about. 

When Should Kids Get Dental X-Rays? 

The short answer to when your kids should start to get dental x-rays is — it depends. Some pediatric dentists will start taking x-rays when permanent teeth start to erupt, or around 5 or 6 years old. Other times, your dentist may start taking x-rays earlier if there’s an increased risk of decay or if there are other signs that something may be going on underneath the surface. 

Do Dental X-Rays Hurt? 

Dental x-rays are painless, but they may be slightly uncomfortable for kids. Patients need to sit very still during x-rays in order to get a clear, crisp photo. Additionally, sometimes the placement of the x-ray materials in the mouth can be odd, but it’s usually over in a few seconds. Make sure your kids know that it’s just like getting their picture taken and they won’t feel a thing. 

If your pediatric dentist in Chattanooga recommends dental x-rays, know that it’s to help treat your child properly and get her the care she needs. X-rays can prevent problems from growing into bigger, more costly concerns later and can help protect your child’s smile.


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