Dental Cavity Detecting X-Rays
During a routine dental checkup, the dentist usually relies on visual inspection to identify surface decay and other tooth defects. But in some cases, an X-ray may be necessary to detect interproximal cavities or decay in-between the teeth, as well as to determine the extent to which decay has spread within an infected tooth.
Pediatric dentists may recommend dental X-rays for a number of other reasons besides detecting cavities. They allow the dentist to diagnose and develop the right treatment plan for conditions that are difficult to detect during a clinical examination. Common applications include:
- Surveying erupting teeth
- Evaluating the results of an injury
- Planning orthodontic treatment
- Diagnosing bone disease
Are Dental X-rays safe for children?
While many parents may be concerned about exposure to radiation, the amount released is so low that it places no risk to your child. Moreover, protective clothing is placed over the chest, abdomen, and pelvic area to prevent unnecessary radiation exposure to the organs. A thyroid collar is also provided for thyroid conditions.
For cases that involve active tooth decay, the dentist may recommend dental X Rays every 6-12 months. Otherwise, if there’re no cavities, X-rays may only need to be done every 12-24 months to evaluate your child’s oral health.
What to expect
Older children are able to sit on the chair in the X-ray unit by themselves, but the younger ones will be placed on the parent’s lap. Everyone will be appropriately protected from scatter radiation.
Different types of intraoral X-rays can be used, including:
- Bitewing – Involves biting down on a piece of paper to aid in detecting cavities between teeth
- Occlusal – Checks the alignment of upper and bottom teeth in case of anatomical abnormalities
- Panoramic – The machine rotates around the head to identify teeth that haven’t emerged and assess overall tooth growth and development. The X-rays can diagnose abscesses and show wisdom teeth development.
Digital x-rays are produced instantly, and can then be reviewed to check for abnormalities and problems such as tooth decay and cavities. The results will help to develop an appropriate treatment plan and/or establish an oral care routine to ensure optimal oral health for your child.