Clinicians are in agreement the foundation of an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan is based on a comprehensive medical and dental history, a thorough clinical examination, and diagnostic radiographs.
Of the three, obtaining diagnostic radiographs in the pediatric dental patient is probably the most difficult to accomplish, not only from a technical standpoint but because of parental fears and misconceptions.
With the news media reporting on a daily basis the environmental insults experienced by the human body, parents are preoccupied with the effects of diagnostic and treatment procedures on the child's health.
Limiting children to the possible deleterious effects of preventive and restorative materials, sterilization protocols, and diagnostic techniques are a concern to parents and dentists.
Parents' resistance to the use of radiographs may be reduced by apprising parents of the need for radiographs to derive an accurate diagnosis, as well as educating them of the newer philosophies and techniques for acquiring radiographs.
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At the time the parent schedules the first appointment, information should be offered explaining that for the dentist to perform a thorough dental examination and derive a correct assessment of a child's dental health there may be a need for x-rays.
Also when parents and the dentist look at the teeth in a child's mouth, all that is seen is literally the tip of the iceberg. Visual examination reveals only three of the five surfaces of the teeth.
If the child's teeth are close together, the interproximal surfaces cannot be seen. The roots of the teeth anchored into the bone cannot be seen, nor the inside of the teeth, or the permanent teeth developing in the jawbone.
°Radiographic Techniques for the Pediatric Patient
°Steven Schwartz, DDS