Dental radiographs allow the dentist to see and treat problems like childhood cavities, tooth decay, orthodontic misalignment, bone injuries, and bone diseases before they worsen. These issues would be difficult in some cases impossible to see with the naked eye during a clinical examination. Although radiographs only emit tiny amounts of radiation and are safe to use on an occasional basis, the AAPD guidelines aim to protect young people from unnecessary X-ray exposure.
What are dental X-rays used for? Dental x-rays are extremely versatile diagnostic tools.
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Some of their main uses in pediatric dentistry include:. When will my child need dental X-rays? Individual circumstances dictate how often a child needs to have dental radiographs taken. Children at higher-than-average risk of childhood tooth decay as determined by the pediatric dentist may need biannual radiographs to monitor changes in the condition of the teeth.
Likewise, children who are at high risk for orthodontic problems, for example, malocclusion, may also need sets of radiographs taken more frequently for monitoring purposes. Children at average or below average risk for tooth decay and orthodontic problems should have a set of dental X-rays taken every one to two years.
Even in cases where the pediatric dentist suspects no decay at all, it is still important to periodically monitor tooth and jaw growth — primarily to ensure there is sufficient space available for incoming permanent teeth. If the oral region has been subject to trauma or injury, the pediatric dentist may want to X-ray the mouth immediately.
Developments in X-ray technology mean that specific areas of the mouth can be targeted and X-rayed separately, reducing the amount of unnecessary X-ray exposure.
First, the child will be covered in a lead apron to protect the body from unnecessary exposure. All questions of interpretation of images must be reviewed by a dentist consultant. Dentists reviewing images for this purpose should be licensed in the U.
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Patients should be exposed to radiation only when clinically necessary, as determined by the treating dentist. Third-party payers must protect all images submitted by dental offices in accordance with applicable HIPAA and state privacy and security regulations. All images submitted to third-party payers should be returned to the treating dentist within fifteen 15 working days. Images received in an electronic form should be permanently deleted within 30 days of the completion of claims adjudication.
As it is necessary for a dentist to maintain accurate and complete records, third-party payers should accept copies of images in lieu of originals. Any additional costs incurred by the dentist in copying images and clinical records for claims determination should be reimbursed by the third-party payer. American Dental Association Adopted ; Amended , United States Environmental Protection Agency. Federal Guidance Report No.
November Accessed February 18, Food and Drug Administration. Dental radiographic examinations: Recommendations for patient selection and limiting radiation exposure. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Sources of radiation. National Council on Radiation Protection Measurements. Radiation dose in X-ray and CT exams: Effective radiation doses in adults.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration
February 18, Mettler FA, Jr. Effective doses in radiology and diagnostic nuclear medicine: a catalog.
Radiology ; 1 Patient risk related to common dental radiographic examinations: the impact of International Commission on Radiological Protection recommendations regarding dose calculation. J Am Dent Assoc ; 9 The use of cone-beam computed tomography in dentistry: an advisory statement from the American Dental Association Council on Scientific Affairs. J Am Dent Assoc ; 8 Williams J. American Dental Association September 1, The Image Gently in Dentistry campaign: promotion of responsible use of maxillofacial radiology in dentistry for children.
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