Radiation Worries For Children At The Dentist

radiation worries for childrenChildren and adolescents are particularly vulnerable to radiation.  About 3 years ago a national campaign came about to address radiation worries for children. It has resonated in many clinics and hospitals, to protect them by reducing diagnostic radiation to only those levels seen as  absolutely necessary. Unfortunately, the dental office is not one of the places that seems to have gotten the message.

Many dentists and orthodontists have began using a special 3D imaging CT scanner, called a cone beam, to get great images of teeth, roots, jaw and even skull. Promoters say it is a safe way for dentists and oral surgeons to work with more precision and to identify problems that may otherwise go unnoticed. But not everyone is convinced. To find out why, read this article from the NY Times and see opinions about radiation in children: Radiation Worries for Children in Dentists’ Chairs – NYTimes.com.

How Often Should Your Child Have Dental X-Rays?

4225775-x-ray-shoot-of-human-mouth-and-teethYou take your children to the dentist once or twice a year for a regular check up.  But are you aware of how often they should be having dental x-rays at these visits? The purpose of x-rays is to allow the dentist to see signs of tooth decay, disease, or other potential problems that are not visible otherwise.

All x-rays use radiation that can potentially cause damage.  It is spread in tiny doses, but the effects of radiation from years of x-rays are cumulative. And, the risks associated with this radiation are greater for children than for adults.

Be sure that your dentist checks your child’s teeth, health history and risk factors, before deciding that x-rays are necessary. While x-rays are important for dentists, they are not necessary at every dental check-up. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the American Dental Association developed a chart that gives guidelines for recommended frequency and times for children’s x-rays by age group.  To see this chart, check out the article from Delta Dental here: How Many Dental X-Rays Do Your Kids Need?