Types of Dental X-Rays For Kids

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Dental X-rays are useful tools to diagnose various dental conditions and diseases. Pediatric dental professionals around the world use dental x-rays. Your child’s dentist may recommend the use of an x-ray to assess your child’s dental development as well.

There are several types of x-rays available to diagnose the condition of or damage to your child’s teeth. The kind of x-ray to be taken will depend on the image that the pediatric dentist needs. There are two major types of dental x-rays: Intraoral and Extraoral.

Intraoral x-rays are the most common type of dental x-rays taken. These X-rays give dentists information about your child’s developing teeth, cavities, and overall tooth health. Under Intraoral x-rays, there are several types of x-rays. They are as follows:

Bitewing X-ray

Bitewing x-rays are used to look in one area of the mouth, particularly at the crowns of the upper and lower posterior teeth such as molars and pre-molars. Bitewing x-rays show how each tooth touches another and help detect cavities between the back teeth and hard to see areas. Bitewing x-rays are also used to assess dental fillings’ conditions, such as wear.

Periapical X-ray

Periapical x-rays provide a visual of an entire tooth — from its crown to the bone that supports the tooth, and to the end of the root where the tooth is attached to the jaw. A periapical x-ray also shows a tooth’s full dimension and can help detect any tooth anomaly from the root to the surrounding jawbone structure.

Periapical X-ray

Occlusal X-ray

Occlusal x-rays provide an image of the entire arch of the teeth in either the upper or bottom jaw. Occlusal x-rays show the full development and placement of your child’s teeth and see how they fit together when your child bites down.

Occlusal X-ray

Extraoral x-rays, on the other hand, focus on the jaw and skull. Extraoral x-rays are not primarily used to detect cavities and tooth decay. Extraoral x-rays provide a graphical view of the jaws in relation to the teeth. Some extraoral x-rays are as follows:

Panoramic X-ray

Panoramic x-rays show your child’s entire mouth area, all the teeth in both upper and lower jaws, in one x-ray. Panoramic x-rays are useful in monitoring your child’s dental development and see if he or she will need orthodontics. Panoramic x-rays can also display and identify emerging teeth, or impacted teeth, and help in diagnosing dental tumors.

Panoramic X-ray

Orthodontic X-ray

Also known as cephalometric projections, orthodontic x-rays show the entire side of the head. Orthodontic x-ray images capture your child’s teeth with the jaw and head, making it a beneficial tool for orthodontic treatment planning.

Orthodontic X-ray

Cone Beam Computerized Tomography

Also known as Cone Beam CT scanning, these x-rays can give 3D views of your child’s mouth. According to Mayo Clinic, this scanning is particularly helpful when a pediatric dentist needs to assess the space and development of a child’s teeth.

Cone Beam Computerized Tomography (CBCT)

Since x-ray is associated with radiation exposure, most parents are reluctant about its use toward their kids. However, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry indicated that the amount of radiation that your child will be exposed to from an x-ray procedure is tremendously small. X-ray machines nowadays allow dentists to focus the device on the target area only. Protective clothing like body aprons and shields also provide an additional safeguard to children during the x-ray procedure.

Kids with low tooth decay risks do not need to undergo an x-ray as often as well. That is why practicing proper and regular dental hygiene is vital. Make sure your child brushes his or her teeth two times a day for 2 minutes each time. And don’t forget to floss too.

Sources:

X-Rays for Children, Colgate https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/procedures/x-rays/x-rays-for-children

Dental X-Rays, Australian Dental Association https://www.ada.org.au/Your-Dental-Health/Children-0-11/Dental-X-Rays-(1)

Dental X-Rays, WebMD https://www.webmd.com/oral-health/dental-x-rays#1

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