Are X-Rays Safe for Kids?

black and white close-up of child's smile and teeth

As a parent, you may be concerned about your child getting an X-ray, but there’s no need. X-rays are completely safe for children of all ages.

What Are X-Rays?

X-rays are an imaging test that allows physicians to see bones within your and your child’s body. X-ray machines send a beam of radiation through your body, allowing doctors and dentists to see your hard, dense bones and softer tissue like muscle and fat. X-rays are painless and usually very quick.

Why Are X-Rays Done?

X-rays are used to check for a number of ailments. They help physicians check the abdomen for digestive tract issues or swallowed items, the chest for lung infections, blocked blood vessels, and enlarged hearts. They’re also extremely useful in dentistry. They let dentists check bones and teeth for fractures and infections, tooth decay, arthritis, osteoporosis, and bone cancer. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that kids and teens get bitewing X-rays every six to 12 months if they have had cavities, while those who don’t can go a year or two between scans.

Are X-Rays Safe for Kids?

People are often very concerned about the safety of X-rays, especially when it comes to their children. While there are some small risks associated with X-rays, you can rest easy because they are undoubtedly safe for kids.

One of the biggest concerns that people often have related to X-rays is radiation exposure. While there is some correlation between radiation exposure and cancer, a typical dental X-ray emits a small amount radiation, and the benefit from this imaging test far outweighs the risk. X-rays can help physicians uncover serious health conditions and catch them before treatment is no longer an option. Children who receive X-rays often receive an even smaller amount of radiation exposure because they are smaller and still developing. Our team always uses a lead smock to cover you and further reduce radiation exposure to the parts of the body that don’t need to be imaged.

What Can Parents Do to Ensure X-Rays Are Safe for Their Child?

If you are concerned about your child getting X-rays, the best thing you can do is ask questions. You should always ask your dentist the following: Does this test use radiation?; Why does my child need this exam?; How is this X-ray going to help my child?; and Are there safer alternatives? Asking these questions will help you stay informed and put your mind at ease when your child needs an X-ray. Be sure a copy of your child’s X-ray is kept on file, too, so they won’t need to get another scan done unnecessarily.

If you have any other questions or concerns about dental X-rays for your child, give us a call! We are dedicated to providing your child with the best and safest care, while making you both feel at home.

We want to give your child a healthy smile.

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