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5 Things Parents Should Note for Safe Dental X-Rays
Posted on 9/23/2013 by Jessica Edgerton
In addition to being faster and more comfortable than their older, film-based counterparts, today’s digital X-ray machines are much safer. Modern machines give off significantly less radiation while helping dentists detect oral health problems and determine the best treatment options.

Nevertheless, if your child needs an X-ray, universal precautions should be practiced during the imaging process to minimize their exposure. Here are 5 checkpoints to help every parent ensure their child’s safety comes first:

1. Protective Gear. In addition to a lead apron, make sure your child is wearing a protective thyroid collar prior to taking his X-ray.
2. Faster Film. Most dental offices today use digital X-ray technology. However, if your child’s office does not, the ADA recommends that dentists use E or F speed film, the two fastest film speeds available.
3. Appropriate, Low-Dose Techniques. The dental office should adjust imaging so that the lowest amount of radiation, relative to your child’s size, is used. If you are in doubt, ask your dental office to provide information on how they minimize radiation doses in their facility.
4. Less is Best. Watch out for multiple shots being taken of the same area, or an area of the mouth that was not previously discussed. A skilled X-ray technician should avoid taking unnecessary images.
5. It’s that Time Already? How often your child gets X-rays will depend on her risk of decay and past cavity experience. Frequency varies by patient according to need, but in every case, parents should not be afraid to have a talk with their child’s dentist to ensure that the benefit of the procedure outweighs the risk.
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