Dentists typically recommend that children get dental x-rays as part of their full check-up exam and cleaning. If you think your child doesn't need them because they take excellent care of their teeth, it might surprise you to learn that even with impeccable dental hygiene, your child still needs x-rays. Here are the three dental conditions that x-rays can catch that might otherwise go unnoticed until it's too late to correct.

Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth can come in a lot sooner than you might expect. While some people don't have their wisdom teeth removed until their late teens or even well into their 20s, others need them out as early as age 13.

Ideally, wisdom teeth should come out as soon as they start to develop. This is why x-rays are a must. In the early stages, wisdom teeth can't be detected visually or with a physical exam. By the time they're detectable, they've set down roots and are harder to remove, resulting in a longer recovery period.

Teeth Coming in Wrong

Impacted teeth are surprisingly common for people to go through, especially when their adult teeth are starting to come in. Impaction can mean that two teeth are colliding or don't have enough room to sit next to each other, or in rare instances, teeth can even come in sideways.

These misalignments can often be fixed if they're caught early enough. Through manual adjustments, surgery, or orthodontic correction, your dentist can potentially make space in your child's mouth so that they can keep all of their teeth. If roots are developed and a tooth is endangering one or more other teeth, it will need to be removed by that point.

Internal Cavities

Finally, children can suffer from a type of cavity that doesn't form on the outside of the tooth. Instead, it starts on the inside and simultaneously grows inward and outward. These types of cavities can only be detected by x-rays until they have grown so big that they start to damage the surface of the tooth. However, by that point, the cavities have typically caused serious damage to the interior of the tooth, and it may not be salvageable.

Finding the cavity early on with x-rays will allow your dentist to clear it out and save the tooth with a filling. If one waits too long, a root canal or a complete tooth pulling may be necessary.

X-rays can uncover what lies beneath the surface of your child's smile. Getting regular x-rays will allow your dentist to predict what's ahead for your child and act accordingly. Don't let your child be at a disadvantage. Get x-rays when your kid's dentist recommends them.