Are Dental X-Rays Safe for Kids?


Dental x-rays or radiographs are sometimes used in regular dental care. For children, this may be a scary experience and your child’s well-being is something that’s constantly on your mind.

This might have you wondering if dental x-rays are safe for kids. Here at My Family Dentistry, we’re your support system when it comes to your family’s health and safety concerns. Taking the time to understand dental x-rays will not only benefit your child—but help you feel more at ease!

Types of Dental X-Rays for Kids

As useful diagnostic tools, dental x-rays use high energy electromagnetic radiation to display pictures (sometimes called films) of the teeth, bones, and soft tissue. They help the dentist see cavities, bone loss, and hidden dental structures that can’t be seen in a regular examination.

Dental x-rays can also help catch the early stages of tooth decay in your kid. Common x-rays that dentist use:

  • Occlusal–An x-ray that views both the upper and floor of the mouth. Used to find cysts, abscesses, jaw fractures, and growths.
  • Bitewing–This is used to check for dental infections, bone loss, and decay between the teeth. It also shows how well the upper and lower teeth line up.
  • Panoramic–Dentist can catch tumors and bone defects with this x-ray since it shows a broader view of the teeth.
  • Periapical–This x-ray can find problems that are below the gum line like impacted teeth. It can snap an image of an exposed crown down to the root on the film.

Common Concerns of Dental X-Rays

Choosing a sport for them to play, what they can watch on television, or even what to eat for lunch are all health issues concerning your child. It’s completely understandable to be worried about your kid’s safety when it comes to dental x-rays. Common concerns for most parents are pain or discomfort, radiation exposure, and future risks.

Dental x-rays are safe and painless. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), dentistry contributes to a very minimal amount of radiation compared to the total exposure from all sources.

X-ray equipment is able to eliminate unnecessary radiation. The high-speed film and lead body apron reduces the amount of radiation your child receives. Dentists are also able to focus the x-ray beam on one part of the mouth eliminating more risks!  They can help find and treat dental problems in your child fast and early. So there’s no need to be concerned with dental x-rays—they actually prevent more risks than cause them. Plus, x-rays can save you time and money.

When Should My Kid Get a Dental X-Ray?

According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), children should visit the dentist every six months to make sure they do not need dental x-rays. Kids would have an x-ray if the dentist needs to monitor the teeth for injuries, prepare for braces, find extra teeth, or detect how the teeth are growing in the gums.

Your child’s dental health and development are important. Dental diseases can lead to further tooth damage and harm your child’s overall health if left untreated. Dentists use dental x-rays on children who have a high risk for tooth decay, cavities, and fillings. Don’t let this be your child! Make sure they’re brushing and flossing daily to prevent these risks for a beautiful, healthy smile.

Good dental hygiene should start early—call Dr. Wes for your kid today!


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