How Often Should Kids Get Dental X-Rays?

How Often Should Kids Get Dental X-Rays?

Team Pediatric Dentistry

Dental X-Rays, also called radiographs, create images of the teeth, mouth, and jaw. As you probably know, X-Rays allow you to see what is underneath your skin and the soft tissues of your body. They are a valuable diagnostic tool for a wide variety of dental and health problems.

If you have young children who are ready to receive dental care, you may be wondering how often kids should get dental X-Rays. Here’s what pediatric dentists and dental experts say.  

The Importance of Preventive Dental Care 

As the old saying goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” This is especially true in dentistry. You only get one set of permanent teeth in your lifetime. The primary teeth are shed, but the first permanent teeth come in as early as 5-6 years old. With good oral hygiene habits at home and regular professional dental care, the permanent teeth should last for the rest of your life. 

X-Rays are an important part of preventive dental care. The images can detect cavities, gum disease, hard and soft tissue abnormalities, and deformities of the facial bones. All of these conditions should be treated promptly for the best chance of a positive outcome. 

When cavities are detected early while still small, they can be filled before they become larger and result in the need for additional treatment or extraction. Gum disease can be treated before it causes damage to the teeth and surrounding tissues. Hard and soft tissue abnormalities can be diagnosed and treated early for better results.

Required: Every Two to Three Years

At the very least, children should have dental X-Rays every two to three years. This will allow the dentist to evaluate growth patterns and identify any potential problems that may arise over the course of a few years. 

The potential problem with less frequent X-Ray imaging is that tooth decay that is not addressed can become severe over the course of a few years. A cavity may progress to the point where the tooth needs a root canal or is not able to be saved. Oral cancer is not common in children, but soft tissue abnormalities can sometimes indicate cancerous growth, and prompt treatment increases the chances of a successful treatment. 

Recommended: Once a Year 

For the average patient, dental X-Rays are recommended once a year. This means that if your child sees the dentist every six months for regular dental cleanings and checkups, X-Rays will be taken every other time. In most cases yearly X-Rays are adequate for diagnosing dental and oral health problems and providing effective treatment. 

Best: Every Six Months 

The best frequency for dental X-Rays that would be the most beneficial for your child’s dental and oral health is to get them every six months. However, this is not necessary for most patients. More frequent X-Rays are typically only recommended if your child is highly susceptible to tooth decay or if gum disease is a recurring problem. 

How Often Does Insurance Cover Dental X-Rays? 

Most dental insurance plans cover X-Rays once a year. Insurance providers typically decide what to cover and at what frequency based on recommendations from dentists and dental professionals. Since the average patient can adequately maintain their dental health with yearly X-Rays, that is the frequency that most dental plans cover. 

Is My Child Due for Dental X-Rays?

If you’re not sure when your child last had dental X-Rays taken, contact your dentist. If your child is not currently seeing a dentist, Dental Associates for Kids Only, LLP is currently accepting new patients. We provide comprehensive dental services including X-Rays and other preventive care. Children should begin going to the dentist for regular cleanings and checkups around the age of one and have regular appointments every six months going forward. It’s never too late to get started. 
Call 516-625-3806 or contact us today to learn more and schedule an appointment.