At What Age Should a Child Get Their First Dental X-Ray

At What Age Should a Child Get Their First Dental X-Ray?

Team Pediatric Dentistry

Early dental care is vital to lifelong oral health. Today, dentists recommend that young children make their first dental visit by 12 months or six months after the first tooth emerges.Many parents want to know when their child needs their first dental X-ray.

Routine dental X-rays generally begin when children are five to six years old. Still, doctors may recommend earlier imaging if the child has a history of tooth decay or other concerning symptoms.

About Dental X-Rays

Today, dentists employ digital X-ray systems. Digital X-rays use 80 to 90 percent less radiation than film X-rays, making them safe for patients of all ages.

To take an X-ray image, the dentist or hygienist places a protective lead apron over the child's torso. This apron shields developing bodies against any possible effects of X-ray radiation.

The hygienist places a small sensor in the child's mouth and instructs them to bite down and hold it in place. The hygienist quickly moves outside the treatment room and takes the image. Finally, the hygienist removes the sensor from the child's mouth.

Since digital X-rays need no time to develop, the dentist can review the images immediately and share them with parents.

Conditions Detected By Dental X-Rays

  • Tooth decay
  • Decay under existing fillings and restorations
  • Jawbone issues
  • Infections and abscesses
  • Position and health of unerupted permanent teeth
  • Cysts and other abnormalities

Reasons Dentists Order Pediatric Dental X-Rays


If your child has a toothache, your dentist will want to check on the tooth's health.

Visible Signs of Tooth Decay

The dentist must take an X-ray if the child's teeth exhibit spots or obvious decay.

Symptoms of Oral Infection

Oral or dental infections can cause serious illness if left unchecked.

Possibility of Extra or Missing Permanent Teeth

Your child's dentist may have notes on their oral development and want to check whether all the permanent teeth are in place.

Check On Teeth Following a Mouth Injury

Children are prone to sports and playtime injuries, and if their face or mouth is involved, their dentist will want to see an X-ray.

Assess the Need for Future Orthodontic Treatment

Young children should see an orthodontist by age seven to determine whether early treatment would offer benefits. X-rays are a standard part of this visit.

Frequently Asked Questions About Dental X-Rays

How often does my child need dental X-rays?

Most children aged five and up receive dental X-rays once per year.

Why are digital X-rays better than film X-rays?

Digital X-rays are safer, faster, more detailed, and easier to share. They require no harsh chemicals to develop, and the images have no wait time.

Call Bisson Dentistry

Dental X-rays are a safe and highly effective way to diagnose oral health issues. When used with care, they can help your dentist track your child's development and investigate whether additional treatments are necessary. Please call our Guelph, ON, office at 519-821-3561 to schedule an appointment for yourself or your child.