The Science of Smiles® | 200 S. El Molino Avenue Suite #6 Pasadena, CA 91101
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Digital Dentistry — The Best Oral Care for Your Smile

How Many Dental X-Rays Will My Child Need?

the science of smilesDental x-rays are an important part of a child’s oral health examine. They are not taken at every dental examine, but often enough in order to keep us and YOU (the parent) informed about your child’s dental heath.

We take dental X-rays so that we can identify signs of disease or potential problems that are not visible to the naked eye. In general, children and adults who are at low risk for tooth decay and gum disease need x-rays less frequently.

So how often are children’s dental x-rays taken?

THE SCIENCE OF SMILES adheres to the guidelines established by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the American Dental Association. The following chart, adapted from those guidelines, gives a basic timeline for recommended frequency of X-rays by age group.

Keep in mind that multiple factors such as the child’s current oral health, future risk for disease, and developmental stage determine need, and some children will require more X-rays, and some fewer.


First visit

Routine recall visit

Routine recall visit

Active tooth decay or   history of cavities (Increased Risk)

No active tooth decay   or history of cavities (Low Risk)

Young children(ages 1 – 5),   with no permanent teethPersonalized exam which may consist of bite-wing X-rays of back teeth (if no gaps exist between teeth that allow the dentist to examine the sides of teeth) and select individual X-rays, usually of front teeth.Bite-wing X-rays every six to 12 monthsBite-wing X-rays every 12 to 24 months
Older children (ages 6 – 12), with some or all permanent teethPersonalized exam consisting of bite-wing X-rays of back teeth and select individual X-rays, usually of front teeth; or a panoramic X-ray.Bite-wing X-rays every six to 18 monthsBite-wing X-rays every 12 to 36 months
Adolescent, with permanent teeth but no wisdom teethPersonalized exam consisting of   bite-wing X-rays of back teeth and select individual X-rays; or a panoramic X-ray; or a full mouth survey of X-rays if evidence of widespread oral disease.Bite-wing X-rays every six to 18 monthsBite-wing X-rays every 12 to 36 months

A final note about dental x-rays and radiation exposure.  All X-rays use ionizing radiation that can potentially cause damage. Though it is spread out in tiny doses, the effect of radiation from years of X-rays is cumulative and LOW RISK.

Are you due for an appointment? Contact THE SCIENCE OF SMILES today.

THE SCIENCE OF SMILES® offers affordable cosmetic and laser dentistry and gentle, compassionate general dental care in Pasadena, CA. Our office is conveniently located with extended hours to meet your needs. At THE SCIENCE OF SMILES®, we provide most dental services, from basic preventative care and general dentistry to specialized procedures and complete dental reconstruction. Patient satisfaction is our top priority and we strive to provide the exceptional, affordable dental care and personal touch that lead to lasting relationships. A smiling patient is our greatest reward and we look forward to keeping those smiles healthy, beautiful, and bright. Discover an affordable dentist who truly cares at THE SCIENCE OF SMILES®.