Little Teeth Truths: Why should X-rays be taken if my child has never had a cavity?
I believe that all pediatric dentists are super heroes but, unfortunately, we were not given the power of X-ray vision!
Parents will often ask why we recommend their child, with a healthy and beautiful smile, have X-rays taken of their teeth. The explanation is simple!
There are many parts of a tooth and its supporting structures that are hidden by either close contacts or tissues. It is important, especially at a child’s initial dental visit, to utilize all available tools in order to gain an accurate picture of a child’s oral health.
Most X-rays are prescribed to identify or rule out the tricky cavities that can develop between the teeth and are not visible in the mouth. Other X-rays are recommended to ensure normal growth and development of forming teeth and supporting bone structures.
It is important to remember that once a baseline is established, parents should work with their pediatric dentist to determine which type and how often subsequent X-rays will need to be taken. Your pediatric dentist will use factors such as spacing, age, caries risk assessment, diet, oral hygiene and development concerns in order to make that decision.
The ultimate goal is to be able to identify cavities when they are small or recognize developmental issues early before they cause extensive damage, create extra work or have a damaging effect on a child’s oral health.
For more information, speak directly with your pediatric dentist or review the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry’s Guidelines at www.aapd.org.
Dr. Kelly Gonzales is a Board Certified Diplomate of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, as well as a national spokesperson. She is the owner of Star Smiles Pediatric Dentistry in Georgetown, Texas. Dr. Gonzales currently serves as the President of the Texas Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and enjoys advocating for the oral healthcare needs of children. She received a Bachelor of Science in BioMedical Science from Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. Her Doctor of Dental Surgery degree is from the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio where she was awarded the Vernetti Award for Excellence in Clinical Dentistry. She completed her Certificate in Pediatric Dentistry from Texas A&M Baylor College of Dentistry in Dallas, Texas.