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How often do pediatric dentists take x-rays?

By Pediatric Dentist, X-rays

Is it normal practice to give kids x-rays with every 6 month checkup? Whenever I take my kids to the pediatric dentist the x-rays are done. Our insurance only pays for yearly x-rays, but the dentist does it twice a year. I am not really used to this. We’ve had this dentist 2 years and no previous dentist did x-rays twice a year. Of course I asked about it and I was told that it’s their normal practice. The radiation exposure on my kids makes me nervous. I have three kids under the age of 8 and I think they are too young for frequent unnecessary x-rays. I want to call ahead before the next dental cleaning to ask the office to waive the x-rays. I don’t want it to be an issue when I arrive. I am just wondering if this office is an exception to the usual yearly x-ray rate. If so maybe I need to switch to a new dentist. – Xaria W.

Xaria- The most common practice is for x-rays to be completed yearly. Some pediatric dentists increase the rate to every six months—particularly with children you are cavity prone. X-rays can assist with early detection of tooth decay. Early detection can help prevent the need for a filling, or only a small filling may be needed, as opposed to deep decay that requires a dental crown. Your dentist or dental hygienist will be able to tell you if it’s their practice for all patients, or if there is a specific reason that your children’s x-rays are being done more frequently.

Digital dental x-rays emit low levels of radiation. The level is equivalent to receiving rays from the sun after standing outside for a few minutes. Today’s x-rays have 80% less exposure to radiation than traditional film x-rays. Although the exposure level is low, patients are protected with a lead apron.

Insurance companies provide benefits for adequate preventive care, including x-rays. If more frequent care is needed, patients pay out of pocket. If your children need more frequent x-rays, but your insurance plan won’t cover the additional diagnostic studies, we recommend that you put your children’s oral health first.

If you call in advance as planned, you can find out why more frequent x-rays are being recommended. If you are skeptical about the reason given, you can opt to receive a second opinion from another pediatric dentist.

This post is sponsored by Dr. Anthony LaVacca for Innovative Pediatric Dentistry in Naperville.

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