Why X-Rays are Important for Kids


Why X-Rays are Important for Kids

The health and safety of children is the top priority at Alamo Heights Pediatric Dentistry. As parents, our team understands the hesitation to expose your kids to any potential, unnecessary harm. A large percentage of dental health for kids is preventative, meaning we want to do all we can to prevent a problem from occurring instead of treating it when it does. X-rays, or radiographs, are the best way for our doctors to detect a potential issue ahead of time and treat it before it is a problem.

What Do X-Rays Do?

X-rays take a picture of the teeth and jaw bones in your child’s mouth. From that photo, we are able to see concerns like cavities and other problems like an abscess (infection), cysts, or tumors. The radiographs also allow us to see bone development issues like extra and/or missing teeth, and ideas of possible problems with permanent teeth.

The Importance of X-Rays

With the information we get from x-rays, our team can diagnose and treat any concerns at an early stage. This means less pain, time and money than what it would be if caught at a later stage of development. For example, x-rays help us see cavities while they are in the outer layers of teeth. We can then treat the cavity before it has entered the inside of the tooth where it would cause pain.

Even though baby teeth will fall out, it is very important to take care of them because the enamel of baby teeth is much thinner than permanent teeth. For this same reason, children need x-rays more often than adults. Children’s mouths change and grow so rapidly so we want to make sure we monitor those changes frequently.

X-Rays in Our Office

Alamo Heights Pediatric Dentistry follows the guidelines set from the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry regarding the type of x-rays we take and how often they are taken. We understand that there are many concerns with x-rays due to radiation exposure. Radiation exists naturally in our world and we are exposed to small doses almost daily. Our team is trained on how to quickly and safely administer the radiographs for minimal exposure. Our doctors will only recommend x-rays if we feel the benefits are greater than the risks.

Download our Radiograph Policy by clicking HERE to read more or sign.

Types of X-Rays

There are several types of x-rays each with a specific purpose. Read below for more information about each one we offer.


Bitewing x-rays allow us to see in between the teeth closely to check for tooth decay and check the status and quality of existing treatment. These x-rays are taken 1x/year unless there are area of decay that are being monitored or a child is considered high risk.



Images of the top front and/or bottom front primary teeth to identify decay, infection, trauma, extra and/or missing teeth.




Periapical (PA)

PA x-rays show all the root and bone surrounding the tooth. PAs can show infections, trauma, or how the permanent tooth is developing in that specific area.




Image of the entire mouth including all teeth (including those that are not erupted yet), the upper and lower jaws, temporomandibular joints (TMJ), nasal area, and sinuses. Taken at specific phases to monitor growth and development, identify extra and missing teeth, impacted teeth, as well as cysts and tumors. Taken when first adult teeth come in and every 3-5 years after that.


CariVu Transillumination

This is a cavity detection device that floods the tooth with light to show where a cavity is present and how it is progressing. This option may be recommended by your provider when monitoring minimal lesions to limit use of traditional x-rays or when a child is x-ray averse.