X-ray films allow us to detect much more than cavities. X-rays may be needed to survey erupting teeth, diagnose bone diseases, evaluate the results of an injury or plan orthodontic treatment. X-rays allow us to diagnose and treat conditions that cannot be detected during a clinical examination. 

We do not want to wait until cavities become visible, especially in between the teeth, during a clinical examination. Small cavities that develop in between the teeth are often not visualized and can first be detected on an X-ray. When a cavity is small, it can often be monitored or restored with a white filling. When a cavity is large and becomes visible, it is often too big for a white filling and a crown may be the recommended treatment for that tooth.

Although the amount of radiation from a dental X-ray is extremely small, it is not negligible. Radiation is cumulative over a lifetime which is why we do our best to minimize exposure. We use digital X-rays and lead body aprons with thyroid shields to help protect your child. The frequency of X-rays is determined by your child’s individual needs and risk. In general, children need X-rays more often than adults as their mouths are continuously growing and changing and they are often more susceptible to tooth decay. It is important to consider that dental X-rays represent a far smaller risk than undetected and untreated dental problems.  

We know that all children are not alike. Every service we offer at Small to Tall is tailored to your child as an individual. Dr. Michelle and her team will help you decide what is the best way to complete dental treatment for you and your child. Please feel free to ask us any questions you may have about our services. 

For more information on these topics, we recommend reading the brochures available at the AAPD here