Your Health: Kid safety during dental x-rays

DECATUR, AL (WAFF) - How often is too often to subject children to dental x-rays?  Is there a financial interest for exposing the patient to radiation? And, more importantly, how much is safe for your child?

4-year-old Harrison Hardy is a healthy, growing boy.  Thanks to good dental hygiene, his teeth are also healthy.

One way to keep up with how his teeth are progressing is to look deep inside thanks to x-ray technology. But how often should x-rays be used?

"Once every year. For kids it's especially important because of the changes - getting the adult teeth, losing the adolescent teeth, the growth patterns, and also being able to spot problems that might help them out orthodontically down the road," said dentist Dr. Josh Drake.

Harrison's mother, Tina Hardy, is not worried because she says she knows the dentist and staff are very careful.

"They use all the precautions, like the apron, and digital x-ray, where the x-ray is very minimal," said Hardy.

Even if your dentist office has not gone digital, the amount of radiation is still low. But that low amount could add up if combined with other tests from other doctors.

Dr. Drake says it's also very important to tell the dentist when your child has had other x-rays for other health problems.

"Especially in cases where a lot of x-rays have been done because those x-rays have a lot higher exposure.  In the dental office, we always ask. If it's a kid - mom or dad is always asked," said Dr. Drake.

The bottom line: If you're concerned, talk to your doctor and do your homework about dental x-rays.

It's important information to know for your health.

Copyright 2011 WAFF. All rights reserved.