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

May 21, 2024
At What Age Should a Child Get Their First Dental X-Ray

As a parent, you want your child to get the proper dental care at the right time. Children should have their first dental visit around one year of age, depending on their specific circumstances. But you may also wonder when your child should have their first dental X-ray.

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

Most children should get their first set of dental X-rays by five or six years of age. However, this isn't a hard and fast rule, as dental X-rays can prove to be very beneficial in treating patients of all ages. 

In fact, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) doesn't have any specific guidelines for age recommendations but rather suggests that dental providers use their discretion when it comes to the personalized dental treatment plans of each pediatric patient. They do, however, offer a list of guidelines for when X-rays should be used for directing treatment. Their list focuses on the specific dental need rather than on the patient's age and includes the following issues or conditions:

  • Dental trauma
  • Toothache
  • Tooth erosion
  • Swelling in the mouth
  • Baby bottle decay
  • Aberrant eruption
  • Unusual growth and development
  • Family history of unusual growth and development
  • Dental cavities or a history of cavities
  • Signs of periodontal disease
  • Loose teeth

So, if a dentist feels that it is necessary to rely on the use of X-rays to provide the best course of treatment, they should use them no matter the age of the patient.

Frequently Asked Questions About Dental X-Rays

Are Dental X-Rays Safe for Children?

Dental X-rays are essential for treating pediatric dental needs as they are used as a diagnostic tool for things like tooth decay, extra teeth, bone defects, cysts, and tumors, as well as for follow-up care on prior procedures. They are only used when necessary and beneficial to the patient.

Modern dental X-rays are digital instead of film, substantially reducing radiation exposure and making them very safe. The FDA also monitors the X-ray equipment used by pediatric dentists and requires them to have specific settings that further minimize radiation exposure.

How Often Should Children Receive Dental X-Rays?

The American Dental Association (ADA) has general guidelines regarding how frequently x-rays should be taken. Several factors also come into play, such as the patient's overall oral health, developmental stage, and other risk factors. They encourage dentists to use X-rays as a diagnostic tool whenever necessary but to use them as minimally as possible.

Children between the ages of one and five should typically only have X-rays every one to two years unless specific dental concerns require them sooner. Children between the ages of six to 12 years and adolescents need x-rays taken about once every year, depending on their dental health and the concern.

Pediatric Care at Excellent Dentistry

At Excellent Dentistry, we take pride in offering dental care to patients of all ages, including our pediatric patients. Our kind and compassionate dentists and staff will discuss the potential need and risks of pediatric dental X-rays for your child. Learn more about us and schedule an appointment by calling 847-566-7850 or book an appointment online.

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Excellent Dentistry
1464 Townline Road
Mundelein, IL 60060