Yes. Radiographs, commonly known as x-rays, are essential, preventative, diagnostic tools that provide valuable information not visible during a regular dental exam. X-rays are taken on children to check the health of primary and permanent teeth. X-rays also are used to find extra or missing permanent teeth (supernumeraries) and cysts. We can also see if teeth are coming in correctly and if they are in the right spot.

I recommend taking x-rays starting on children at age 3. Usually the first x-rays are taken of the upper (maxillary) and lower (mandibular) front (anterior) primary teeth. These x-rays allow us to see not only the primary incisors but the permanent incisors developing in the bone.

Traditional bitewing x-rays are taken on the right and left back (posterior) primary teeth. A bitewing x-ray allows us to see in-between the back teeth. Bitewing radiographs are important because decay often begins between the posterior teeth. X-ray are repeated either every 6 months or every year depending on your child’s risk of cavities.

A pantograph or panorex is taken on most children starting at age 7. A panorex is a large x-ray that allows us to view all of the child’s primary and permanent teeth as well as the surrounding bone. We are able to count all permanent teeth developing, check for potential impacted teeth, and check for cysts. The panorex is taken every 3-5 years or more often if your child is undergoing orthodontic treatment or there is another concern that needs to be monitored.

In our office, we offer digital x-rays. These are taken using an electronic sensor instead of the traditional film. By using digital x-rays, the amount of radiation your child is exposed to is reduced by 80% compared with traditional film x-rays. Additionally, you will not have to wait for the x-rays to develop—the electronic system takes less than 2 seconds to show the image on the monitor, which saves you time during your appointment.


Dentistry comes with a whole new language. To prepare you for our blog articles, and for a visit to the dentist, we will be posting several “Dental Terms” lists over the next few months. This will be a great reference to you as you read and learn about the world of dentistry.


Incisors – The four upper and lower front teeth
Cuspids – Canine teeth
Anterior Teeth – The six upper and six lower front teeth
Posterior Teeth – The upper and lower back teeth
Erupt – The process of a tooth coming into the mouth
Unerupted tooth – A tooth that has not pushed through the gums
Impacted Tooth – An unexposed tooth with fully formed roots that is partially or completely covered by bone.
Interproximal – The surfaces of adjoining teeth
Supernumeraries – Extra teeth
Maxillary – The upper teeth
Mandibular – The lower teeth
Radiographs – X-rays
Bitewings – X-rays that are taken of the back teeth


Specializing in dental care of infants, children, teenagers, and special needs patients, Dr. Rebecca F. Scott is your resource for everything related to your child’s teeth.

Dr. Scott has a successful pediatric dental practice in Lincoln, Nebraska. Her staff strives to create a fun environment to make your child’s dental care as easy, comfortable, and enjoyable as possible.

We encourage you to be a part of our dental health team, working with us to protect the oral health of your child. We will be counting on you to promote excellent dental health at home by encouraging your family to establish or continue daily oral care. This blog will share how to do just that! Check back regularly for new articles, tips, resources, and office information.

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