ADA Recommends X-rays at Custom Intervals
Guidelines published by the American Dental Association recommend that x-rays be prescribed by a dentist at intervals that are appropriate for each individual. In the past, many dental practices have followed the insurance reimbursement schedules in determining whether or not to take x-rays. This can lead to over-prescribing for some patients, and possibly under-prescribing for others.
At Palos Pediatric Dentistry, part of every examination is a Caries Risk Assessment. We classify each child as being at low, medium, or high risk for developing dental decay in the future. Based on this assessment, we prescribe x-rays at an interval that is appropriate for your child. Children at high risk for cavities obviously will benefit from x-rays more frequently than children at low risk for cavities.
In addition to cautiously prescribing dental x-rays for your child, we also use digital x-rays. This cuts down significantly on radiation exposure compared to traditional film x-rays. We also use x-ray aprons equipped with a thyroid collar to protect areas that are more sensitive to radiation.
X-rays are an essential part of dentistry. They allow us to detect cavities between teeth – cavities that would only otherwise be seen once they are very large and require much more extensive treatment. X-rays are also a great tool to assess your child's dental growth and development. This is especially important before beginning orthodontic treatment and when assessing wisdom teeth.
Remember, dental x-rays are a very small dose of radiation compared to our daily exposure to radiation. A plane ride to Disney World exposes passengers to more radiation than many years of dental x-rays. X-rays allow us to detect problems when they are small and more easily treated, avoiding more invasive treatment in the future. Despite the low dose and strong safety record, we will always minimize your child's exposure to x-rays by assessing your child's risk for cavities.