Why Children Need Routine Dental Cleanings and X-rays


A child brushing her teeth.

According to pediatric dentists, parents should schedule routine dental check-ups for their children once every six months. They allow dentists to monitor your child’s oral health and determine if they require dental cleanings or x-rays.


Regular dental cleanings and x-rays promote long-term oral health and help prevent various dental issues in children. Keep reading to know more about preventive dental practices that benefit your child.


What Does Pediatric Dental Cleaning Include?

Every time you eat, a soft and slippery film called plaque forms on your teeth. It contains millions of bacteria that can lead to cavities or gum disease if not properly monitored. Regular dental cleanings can help keep your plaque levels in check.


At the start of the process, your dentist will thoroughly examine your teeth. This process may or may not include x-rays, depending on the state of your teeth. If your dentist identifies a problem, they will recommend a procedure to resolve it. Otherwise, they will carry out the following steps:

  • Scrub your teeth using mild toothpaste and a gentle brush to remove plaque.

  • Polish away stains to ensure smoother and whiter teeth.

  • Rinse your teeth.

  • Use fluoride treatment to fight cavities.

  • Teach proper oral hygiene techniques to maintain your child’s oral health.

Why Are X-Rays Important?

X-rays have many uses in dental practices. Here’s why they’re important.


  • X-rays can detect issues with your child’s jaw spacing.

  • They can identify problems with the roots of your teeth or other bone-related issues.

  • If your child needs a tooth extraction or faces other dental issues, x-rays can help map the process of the procedure.

  • They allow dentists to spot potential problems before the tooth erupts.

  • You can screen for bone loss that may not be visible or be symptomatic.

  • Using x-rays as a reference, dentists can be equipped with a better solution for an oral condition, like preparing braces, implants, dentures, and other treatments.

Why Does Your Child Need Regular Dental Cleanings and X-Rays?

A dentist examining a dental x-ray.

1. Dentists Understand Your Oral Habits

Dentists evaluate your child’s oral health and provide feedback to their parents. Regular visits to your dentist can help them understand your everyday dental practices. It makes it easier for them to advise parents on the type of diet and oral hygienic practices you must follow. They can also guide you through your child’s developing stage and recommend at-home dental tests to ensure long-term health.


2. Dentists Monitor Your Child’s Oral Health.

Sometimes, routine dental check-ups include x-rays. They help pediatric dentists identify orthodontic problems early and keep track of your child’s jaw and teeth development.


3. Prevents Plaque & Tartar Build-Up

It can be difficult to reach all corners of your mouth while brushing. Children with crooked teeth may also face issues while cleaning the spaces between their teeth.

Pediatric dentists clean the surface of every tooth to prevent plaque or tartar accumulation. Regular dental cleanings can prevent future dental problems like cavities, gum diseases, and infections.


4. Cost-Effective Solutions

Dental cleaning is affordable as opposed to treatments for infection, missing teeth, cavities, or gum disease. Teeth that need to be extracted or need any other dental procedures will cost accordingly. If you can make a lifelong habit of regularly visiting the dentist for check-ups, you can ensure excellent long-term oral health.

When to Take Your Child for Their First Dental X-ray?

According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, a child must have his or her first dental visit, ideally six months after the first tooth erupts or by the age of one. Many parents may consider this too early, but the sooner you start, the better it is. X-rays are usually not a part of the initial visits unless your child’s dentist thinks there might be an underlying issue.


An x-ray is usually only recommended in case of an oral injury. In that case, it's crucial for the dentist to examine the soft tissue, teeth, and jawbones. X-rays will also help determine if there are any root or jaw fractures.

Concerns Regarding Dental X-rays for Children

There are certain drawbacks of x-rays that you should be concerned about. Exposure to radiation can be harmful and damage cells. The ALARA (as low as reasonably achievable) principle urges dentists to expose their patients to as little radiation as possible while providing the best service.

There are three protective measures to implement this principle: time, distance, and shielding. By using the following techniques, one can limit the radiation exposure:

  • Use of the fastest image receptor.

  • Use of proper exposure technique.

  • Use of aprons and thyroid collars.

  • Reduction in the size of the x-ray beam to the image receptor whenever possible.

If you are looking for routine dental care treatments for your children in Coralville, Iowa, book an appointment at the Children’s Dental Center. We offer a variety of dental care services and our team will ensure that your child gets the best care. Feel free to discuss service charges and check our patient resources here. Contact us today!

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