How Safe Are Dental X-Rays?

At Hines Little Smiles your child’s health and safety are our first priorities. We understand how important children’s teeth are in their early development, and our dedicated team does everything they can to ensure your child can smile with confidence. Many parents have concerns about the use of X-rays in pediatric dentistry, and if they cause exposure to potentially harmful radiation. Our pediatric dentists at Hines Little Smiles are here to give you all the information you need about X-rays, and how we limit any risk to our younger patients.

What are X-rays for exactly?

X-rays are detailed photos dentists use to find, identify and diagnose problems. They show us a clear view of your child’s mouth, including teeth, bones and supporting tissue. They are very important in the prevention and detection of various problems such as spacing in the jaw, bone-related issues with the roots of the teeth and they are also used for orthodontic planning, and after injuries. They provide us with a map of your child’s mouth for complicated procedures and tooth extraction and detect any cavities developing.

How often will a child typically need an X-ray?

In pediatric dentistry, children can be given X-rays from the age of 6, as this is when their adult teeth start to come through. Some patients may need regular X-rays, depending on any issues they may have, which is nothing to worry about. Younger patients typically need more X-rays than adults as they are more susceptible to things like tooth decay, and also for orthodontic work.

What about radiation exposure?

X-rays give off ionizing radiation which is potentially damaging on a cellular level, but to such a low amount that there is very little exposure. When your body is exposed to this kind of radiation your cells have their own repair system, so only higher levels can pose a risk. It is estimated that the amount of radiation from an X-ray is similar to that of background radiation which we are exposed to every day, which is very low. X-rays are usually infrequent so the amount of exposure is minimal.

What can dentists do to minimize exposure?

In pediatric dentistry there are preventative measures in place to limit children’s exposure to radiation. Digital X-rays can be used which causes less radiation. Your children will be protected at all times and at Hines Little Smiles, our team is dedicated to their safety. We use lead aprons, which are worn by the patient to cover the rest of their body that we don’t need to X-ray. We also always use high-speed film in order to decrease the time of the X-ray, thus minimizing exposure.

The team at Hines Little Smiles are highly-qualified dental professionals with only your child’s best interests at heart. We can assure you that with proper shielding and state-of-the-art equipment, we are limiting any exposure to radiation. An X-ray, in the long run, is potentially less harmful than an undetected dental problem, which in pediatric dentistry is our goal to prevent. Contact us today!

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A dentist demonstrates to a child patient a large dental model for educational purposes during a consultation.