At What Age Should a Child Get Their First Dental X-Ray?

At What Age Should a Child Get Their First Dental X-Ray?

Team X-Ray

Having young children comes with many questions about their health and well-being, including questions about their teeth and dental health. Many parents wonder about when their child should start seeing a dentist on a regular basis and also about what age their child should receive their first dental X-ray. Unfortunately, there's no hard and fast answer to this question. It depends on your child, their situation, and the opinion of the dental care provider.

When Should Your Child Get Their First Dental X-Ray?

The American Association of Pediatric Dentists (AAPD) doesn't provide a particular age recommendation for when children receive their first dental X-rays. Why? Because no two pediatric patients are the same. Rather, the AAPD recommends that parents follow the recommendations of their child's pediatric dental provider.

Pediatric dentists are responsible for recommending X-rays for children accounting for the child's circumstances and needs rather than just age alone. However, it's good to note that most children have their first X-rays by age five, though some may receive them at a younger age. While this may seem like a safety concern or even alarming, today's digital dental X-rays expose children to up to 90 percent less radiation than previous film X-rays, so even very young children can safely have dental X-rays.

Keep in mind that your child likely won't need dental x-rays at every visit. For most children, once per year will suffice.

About Digital Pediatric Dental X-rays

Digital dental x-rays are essential diagnostic tools in pediatric dentistry. They provide instant, high-quality images that the dentist can immediately view on a computer screen. Not only are dental X-rays entirely painless, but the current dental X-ray machines are also FDA-required to have "child settings" that keep your child's radiation exposure to a minimum. Capturing a digital image takes less than one second. During the x-ray procedure, your child will be protected with a protective apron and collar shield to protect their body from unnecessary radiation exposure.

Frequently Asked Questions About Children's Dentistry X-Rays

What Protections Will Keep My Child Safe from X-Rays?

Today's radiologic technology eliminates superfluous X-rays and confines the X-ray beam to one specific region. Your child will wear a lead apron while their dental X-rays are obtained, which reduces the effects of stray radiation even further. With the use of high-speed film, digital X-rays, and suitable protective shielding, the child will be exposed to the least amount of radiation possible.

If My Child has Never Had a Cavity, are X-Rays Still Necessary?

X-rays are a diagnostic tool that can reveal much more than just cavities. For instance, your child's dentist may need them to examine erupting teeth, detect bone diseases, assess injury impacts, or before beginning orthodontic therapy. Dental providers can use X-rays to diagnose and treat diseases that are not visible during a regular visual or manual examination. Keep in mind that dental treatments are typically more tolerable and less costly if dental issues are detected and addressed sooner rather than later.

Dental Care Your Child at ABQ Pediatric Dentistry

At ABQ Pediatric Dentistry, we welcome your questions about dental X-rays or anything else regarding your child's dental care. Learn more about our dentist and services by contacting us online or calling us at 505-888-3520  to request an appointment.