What Are Dental X-Rays?
Dental x-rays or radiographs are pictures that show the anatomy of the teeth, surrounding bone and soft tissues in areas of the mouth.
Are They Necessary?
Dental x-rays are often needed to diagnose and confirm a diagnosis accurately. Dentists and dental hygienists can only see what is visible above the gums. Anything under the gums requires x-rays to analyse and monitor. X-rays are used to:
- Monitor how your child’s teeth are coming into the mouth (erupting)
- Record the size, number, and position of teeth that are still under the gums (unerupted)
- See whether there are any missing teeth or extra teeth (supernumerary teeth)
- Check the mouth and teeth for injuries
- Look for infections in the mouth
- To assess and prepare for braces or other orthodontic treatment
- Identify diseases of the bone
- Look for cavities located in between teeth that make contact with each other
Dental X-Ray Safety
Dental offices utilise lead aprons while taking x-rays to shield the body from radiation exposure while taking x-rays. Salvaggio dentistry uses digital x-ray technology, which decreases radiation levels. Digital x-rays reduce radiation exposure by up to 90% when taking regular check-up dental x-rays. Salvaggio dentistry also follows the ALARA principle, which stands for As Low As Reasonably Achievable. ALARA means that we take every step possible to achieve the lowest levels of radiation exposure when taking x-rays.
The CDA or Canadian Dental Association recommends a dental exam by the age of 6 months. They recommend an assessment of infants, within six months of the appearance of their first tooth or by age one. The reason for earlier visits is to ensure that problems do not develop at a later age. These visits can also help monitor for potential issues, such as crowding or misaligned teeth.
The Bottom Line
Dental x-rays can contribute to confirming the diagnosis of a current or recurring dental problem. They can also be used to monitor the mouth for potential problems or changes. Each child will have individual dental issues that affect their oral health. Your dentist will explain why they are recommending x-rays for your child. A history of previous dental decay or pain that occurs frequently are reasons why x-rays are recommended. Deep fissures in teeth are just some reasons why dental x-rays may be recommended for your child. Ultimately it is up to you to decide whether you want your child to have dental x-rays.