At Willow Pass Dental Care Pediatric Department we understand that one of the most important parts of pre-assessment for any dental procedure is getting a dental x-ray. This enables the dentist to reliably diagnose cavities. By providing digital x-rays, we offer our patients all the benefits of a dental x-ray, but without the massive amounts of radiation that is usually associated with it.

What are the benefits of digital x-rays?

The pediatric dentist working in our clinics in pride themselves in using the latest technology to diagnose cavities. In the past, tooth decay and periodontal bone loss would not turn up with high resolution on film x-rays. In comparison, digital x-rays are so sensitive that they can reveal these conditions, making them immediately available for the dentist to assess and diagnose. Because they are digital, these x-rays can be viewed in larger formats, with obvious improvements in image quality, and can be accessed easily, decreasing the waiting time. The best thing about digital x-rays is not only that they give the dentist a great amount of insight into the patient’s oral structure, in high-resolution, but they do not expose the children to high levels of radiation in the process. With these x-rays, there is a staggering 99% lower radiation reading compared to their original counterparts.

How are x-rays taken on little children?

Younger children are placed in their parent’s lap, while older children can sit by themselves on the chair in the x-ray unit. Although the digital x-rays have a lot less scatter radiation, everyone in the x-ray room is protected through the use of lead aprons. We also use smaller, softer x-rays to make the process easier for little ones to get their x-rays taken. All the child has to do is bite on a bite stick that has the x-ray on it and hold still for a couple of seconds. The parent or the x-ray technician can also help by holding the bite stick in place.

What if a child is too uncooperative to have x-rays taken?

Sometimes the dental exam can be done using only visual observation for young patients or special needs children. If the doctor feels that treatment is necessary, further x-rays can be taken at that time, when the child is sedated. Usually, the use of oral conscious sedation and nitrous oxide (or laughing gas) can put the child at ease and make the process of taking x-rays a lot more pleasant.

Why can’t my child’s dentist simply look at the teeth to find cavities? Why does he/she need dental x-rays?

While visual inspection with an explorer (dental tool) can identify surface decay, digital x-rays is the only way to detect inter-proximal cavities, or cavities in between the teeth. Also, x-rays can tell pediatric dentist how much the decay has spread within the tooth and if the tooth needs a root canal or a simple filling. Fortunately, at Willow Pass Dental Care Pediatric Department, as well as in all our other practices, we make use of digital x-rays so that we can make the most correct diagnosis possible.