One question that a kid friendly dentist in St George gets often is "Can dental X-rays harm a child?" The short answer is no. However, if a parent has any concerns, they should discuss the issue with a family dentist before agreeing to let the child undergo X-rays.
Why a kid friendly dentist may use X-rays
X-rays are a powerful diagnostic tool that dentists use to evaluate oral health and assess the mouth for damage, decay or other issues. This imaging technique allows dentists to spot issues that are still small and easily treatable, before those issues become extensive and costly to fix.
That said, dentists must limit the use of X-rays when treating children. To ensure family dentists do not overuse this tool, the American Dental Association released new guidelines regarding use with children. These guidelines outline scenarios in which X-rays may be necessary:
- Look for cavities between teeth
- Diagnose the cause of oral swelling
- Determine whether familiar dental anomalies are present
- Assess injuries after a trauma to the mouth
- See how many teeth are present in the mouth
- Check to see if any teeth show signs of bone loss or gum disease
- Assess how impacted teeth may affect the others
- Check on the health of the alveolar bone
If X-rays are necessary, the dentist will use one of five types: bitewing, periapical, panoramic, orthodontic, occlusal or cone beam computerized tomography.
It is not uncommon for parents to hesitate to let a kid friendly dentist in St George perform X-rays on a young child. Parents may fear that the imaging can expose children to dangerous levels of radiation and put them at risk for various health conditions. However, the ADA would not allow dentists to perform this procedure if that was the case. The ADA reassures parents that the levels of radiation emitted by dental X-rays is minimal and unlikely to cause any health issues.
Moreover, the ADA requires dentists to adhere to strict protocol when examining the teeth of both children and adults alike. For instance, today's X-ray equipment allows dentists to focus the beam on a select area of the mouth. This effectively reduces unnecessary radiation exposure, if not eliminating it entirely. Dentists must also drape patients with lead body aprons, which help to shield patients during the procedure.
Though the ADA limits the amount of X-rays dentist can give children and specifies in which situations a dentist may administer such an exam, it is better if it is less necessary, as is the case for patients with good mouth health. Dentists encourage parents and young patients to practice good oral hygiene. Frequent brushing and flossing, and routine dental visits, can go a long way toward preventing the need for imaging.
X-rays are a necessary part of health care as a whole. This imaging helps dentists and other health providers examine the body for potential health issues before those issues become more widespread and difficult to treat. However, if you are concerned about radiation exposure, talk to a kid friendly dentist in St George for advice.
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