Monitoring your child’s dental development

In addition to establishing a routine of regular 6 month check ups for your child, you need to have a panoramic x-ray (panorex) taken every 3 to 4 years.  This x-rays shows the developing teeth, erupted teeth, lower jaw, and other crucial anatomical landmarks.

Most dental insurances pay for this procedure every 3 years.  I would recommend the first panorex be take at age 7.  This will show the first permanent molars and the development of the other permanent teeth that will replace the baby teeth.  It will usually show if any permanent teeth are missing, or if any extra permanent teeth are present.  This is very useful in planning the need for orthodontic treatment.

I would recommend another panorex be taken at age 11 to evaluate the development of the 2nd permanent molars and to monitor the child’s skeletal and dental development.  I would recommend another panorex at age 15  to evaluate the development to the third molars (wisdom teeth) and the possible need to have them removed.

In adults, I would recommend a panorex at least every 5 years, especially if they have any impacted wisdom teeth remaining.  This a way to keep track of any loss of bone due to periodontal disease; any cyst formation; or any other disease process.

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