Radiation Safety in Children’s Dentistry
A very common concern from parents is the amount of radiation their children are exposed to when their X-rays are taken.
From the clinician point of view, we need to understand the overall status of both visible and concealed areas in the mouth. These are mainly the contact areas of the molars where food may keep getting stuck leading to cavities or carious decays.
As per the documented researches, nearly 80% of the decays in young children occur in-between the contact areas of the baby molars. The primary reason for this is frequent snacking and lack of flossing by kids.
At Dr. Michael’s Dental Clinic, we follow these steps to make sure that X-ray exposures are minimal:
- Fast speed films are used.
- X-ray beams are focused around the core areas.
- Protective collars and shields are used.
- Proper film exposure and processing techniques are followed.
- The number of X-rays is limited to a minimum.
The AAPD recommendation
As per the recommendation of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry or AAPD, at approximately around age 5 years, when primary dentition is complete, we should do two bitewings and two periapicals.
The total amount of radiation for this set is 0.008 mSv. If one or more adult teeth are present, then a panoramic x-ray is additional. The amount of radiation exposure in a single panoramic x-ray is 0.007 mSv.
SEE ALSO: “Help! My Child’s Teeth Are Rotting.”
The radiation around us
According to the US National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements, almost any average person receives an effective dose of 3 millisieverts (mSv) per year from naturally occurring radioactive materials and cosmic radiation from outer space. Naturally occurring radioactive materials can be found in the air that we breathe and the food that we eat. Cosmic radiation is more like background radiation. These exposures are unavoidable and yet they happen.
Of course, as clinicians we understand and respect the concerns when it comes to our young kids, but the other aspect is to be proactive and pre diagnose any incipient decays that can be arrested without much treatment needs.