Children and X-RaysX-rays also known as radiographs are very helpful in determining the state of a child's dental health. However, not all children will need one. X-rays may be required depending on the dental care habits of the child. A child with a regular brushing and flossing routine is less likely to have cavities, and consequently need X-rays. If a child has cavities or is at a higher risk of tooth decay, the dentist may suggest X-rays every six months till the problem is rectified. An X-ray is therefore a useful diagnostic tool that can help study the dental profile of a child.
Your dentist may use X-rays to
- Determine the presence of bone diseases
- Determine whether the teeth are infected
- Identifying tooth problems that cannot be seen visually
- Determine whether there are missing teeth
- Determine whether there is crowding of teeth
- Monitor mouth as well as teeth injuries
- Study how a child’s teeth are emerging up
- See the number, size, and position of teeth that are yet to erupt out of the gums
- Aid in preparing braces or other dental treatments
There are five types of X-rays that a dentist can take depending on the nature of the dental problem and the purpose of treatment.
- Bitewing X-rays: These are also known as cavity-detecting X-rays. They are used to see parts of the teeth that cannot be clearly seen with the naked eye. Usually, these are the areas between the teeth in the back of the mouth.
- Panoramic X-rays: With these X-rays, all teeth in the mouth can be viewed on one film. These X-rays expose the temporomandibular joints (TMJs), and the sinuses above the upper teeth. They can also reveal the upper and lower jaws. Panoramic X-rays are used when a child’s face is injured, when he has a dental problem, or is physically or mentally challenged. Children who gag easily or have a small mouth can benefit from these X-rays, as there is no need to place film in the mouth of the child while taking the X-ray. These X-rays require the child to sit still for just about 12- 18 seconds, making these fit for use in very young kids, or hyperactive ones.
- Periapical X-rays: When the dentist needs to view the crowns, roots, and the supporting bone structure of one to three adjacent teeth, he will use Periapical X-rays. Through these X-rays, he can see abscesses and gum diseases. The dentist can also view the growth of permanent teeth that are beginning to emerge.
- Occlusal X-rays: The upper and lower teeth can be viewed with these X-rays. These are taken when the dentist doesn’t have a special panoramic X-ray device.
- Orthodontic X-rays: These are also known as cephalometric or lateral skull X-rays. They show the skull from the side, and help in studying the jaw bones and their alignment with the skull.
- Modern technology has ensured that X-rays are safe and expose children to minimal radiation. Sophisticated X-ray equipment enables the dentist to focus on specific areas of the mouth, thereby reducing unnecessary exposure to radiation. High speed film also reduces the amount of radiation a child receives, making the taking of X-rays a very safe procedure for a child.
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