Consistent with an overall conservative approach to oral health care dentists should not be overly reliant on the use of dental X-Rays.
Adopting the medical community’s concept of “High Yield Critera”, dental radiographs should be taken only when there is a clinical reason to believe that the x-ray will yield useful information that will impact on treatment recommendations.The use of such guidelines is the single best way to minimize a child’s lifetime exposure to medical radiation.
For that reason, there should not be a routine or regular regimen for taking radiographs.
Together with utilizing barrier protection, regularly calibrated machines and optimal developing chemistries, pediatric dentists continually seek to minimize all exposures.
There are, however, occasions when dental x-rays are necessary and appropriate. The dentist or staff member should always ask your permission and explain the reasons why the x-rays are necessary.
The most common x-rays that are obtained are cavity detecting bitewings and growth assessment panoramic views.
Many dentists have adopted digital technology for their x-rays. The digital x-rays deliver a much lower dose of radiation. They are, however, very sensitive and can detect cavities that would not be seen on conventional x-rays. This may lead to over diagnosis and over treatment. This same dilemma is currently being addressed within the medical community, as digital x-rays are leading to more aggressive treatment recommendations and diagnoses.
There is no clear cut answer on the interpretation of digital cavity detecting x-rays and how they shold translate into treatment.
For dentists that practice with a very preventive oriented philosophy, the detection of very small or “incipient” cavities on an x-ray may lead to a recommendation to institute a fluoride rinsing regimen in the hope that the decay may be “arrested”.