X-rays are used to identify problems and abnormalities in patients of all ages, but for children, they are particularly important.
At Smiles 4 Keeps, our safe dental X-rays make sure your child’s teeth and gums are as healthy as possible and to identify and treat problems early on. We use digital X-rays and follow FDA/AAPD guidelines for prescribing radiographs.
They are an important part of your child’s full diagnostic exam, which we’ll conduct during his or her first appointment with us. If we detect any issues, we may take additional X-rays during follow-up appointments to continue monitoring the condition.
X-rays are one of the best tools we have for helping your child achieve excellent oral health. Here are some of the ways we use X-rays in our office.
Monitoring New Teeth and Jaw Growth
Childhood and adolescence are times of tremendous growth and change for the teeth, gums, and jaw. As your child’s baby teeth fall out and permanent teeth come in, it’s helpful for us to take X-rays so we can see whether there will be enough space in the jaw for the incoming teeth. They also let us keep an eye on your child’s growing jawbone and erupting teeth to identify potential problems as soon as possible.
A child’s teeth are particularly susceptible to decay, and untreated decay can lead to tooth loss and other serious issues. The problem is that decay isn’t always visible during an exam, especially if it’s in the beginning stages or taking place under a filling. X-rays are helpful in identifying cavities in hard-to-see areas. When we spot decay early on, we can treat it more effectively, and the treatment is likely to be less expensive for you and less painful for your child.
An X-ray can identify areas of disease and infection, sometimes even before symptoms appear. As soon as we’re aware a problem is present, we can develop a treatment plan.
Watching Wisdom Teeth
Most people get their wisdom teeth in their teens or early 20s. In many cases, wisdom teeth become problematic, and it’s beneficial to remove them. We use X-rays to check whether wisdom teeth have developed, and if they have, to determine how they are positioned and whether they are impacted. This helps us make a recommendation as to whether the teeth should be extracted. It’s often easier to remove wisdom teeth sooner rather than later, so X-rays are particularly useful in this situation.
Examining the Jaw and Skull
When we take X-rays, we’re not just looking at your child’s teeth – we’re also examining his or her jaw and skull. X-rays allow us to see whether there are problems with how the teeth, jaw, and skull work together. If there are, we can devise a solution to prevent temporo-mandibular joint (TMJ) disorders and other problems down the road.
We at Smiles 4 Keeps feel that the more we know about your child’s teeth, the better. As so much growth and development occurs during childhood, we encourage parents to bring their children for regular check-ups every 6 months.