We get asked a lot of questions at our pediatric dental office in Wichita, and we don’t mind answering them one bit! We believe that the more our patients’ parents know, the healthier their children’s smiles will be. One thing we hear quite often is wanting to know more about dental x-rays and the different types, why we use them, and if they’re safe.
The 4 Most Common Types of Dental X-Rays
There are several different types of x-rays that your pediatric dentist in Wichita may use to look at various parts of the mouth’s anatomy. Each type is used for a different reason and can show different problems. Let’s take a look at each one.
- Bitewing X-rays. These x-rays are helpful in catching cavities early on and allow the dentist to see places in between teeth not visible with the naked eye. Sometimes, your child won’t have this type of x-ray until they have their first permanent molar, or until their back teeth touch each other.
- Panoramic X-rays. Panoramic x-rays show the entire set of teeth, both top and bottom and from front to back, in one photo. They can also display the jaw joints (TMJ) as well as the top sinuses. While no film inside the mouth is need with these, a patient does need to stand still for up to 18 seconds.
- Periapical X-rays. This type of x-ray is pretty cool and can show the permanent teeth before they erupt through the gums. They’re also used to check the bone structure, for gum disease, or abscesses.
- Orthodontic X-rays. Orthodontic x-rays actually look at both the teeth as well as the head. Taken from the side, the images produced from the x-ray can help a dentist or orthodontist create an accurate treatment plan.
Are Dental X-Rays Safe?
Safety is our top priority with everything we do, including x-rays. Advancements in technology have helped the x-rays perform faster, meaning less exposure to the already low amount of radiation. Dental x-rays emit minimal radiation and are very safe for both children and adults.
We recommend that your child visits our Wichita pediatric dental office at least once every six months, but she may not need to have x-rays at every appointment. Some children don’t need x-rays as often as others. Your pediatric dentist will look at your child’s oral health and development to determine how often she should have x-rays taken. If there’s been a history of cavities or a higher risk of decay, we’ll probably follow the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry guideline of taking x-rays twice a year.