You may not realize it, but most of what happens with your teeth occurs below the gum line. This is why x-rays are a vital tool for our orthodontists. X-rays allow our orthodontists to diagnose issues with your teeth and jaws and spot problems early on. This often mitigates more difficult treatment down the road and potentially avoids unnecessary expenses.
What x-rays are taken at the orthodontist?
Our orthodontists take two standard x-rays: a panoramic x-ray and a cephalometric x-ray.
A panoramic x-ray is a single image that shows all of your teeth, jaws joints and surrounding structures. This x-ray allows our orthodontists to evaluate for any missing or extra teeth as well as impacted teeth. They are also able to see if your teeth are coming in the proper position and assess any other discrepancies that may exist with the health of your bone and jaw joints.
A cephalometric x-ray offers a side view of the entire skull. Our orthodontists utilize this x-ray to view the relationship between your upper and lower jaws as well as evaluate your airway for any obstruction or constriction.
How often will I have x-rays?
At your initial appointment in our office you will have x-rays taken to help our orthodontists determine if treatment is necessary. If you are not ready for treatment, our doctors will place you on our recall program. Once you are ready for treatment, x-rays will be taken again to assist in creating your comprehensive treatment plan.
While you are in treatment, doctors may request x-rays to check your progress. Your last set of x-rays will be taken the day you finish treatment to show the final position of your teeth.
Since a panoramic x-ray is also commonly taken at your general dentist, we are happy to send the x-rays taken in our office over to your dentist so they do not have to be redone.
Are the x-rays harmful?
X-rays today emit a very low level of radiation and are considered safe. Our orthodontists also keep the amount of x-rays taken to a minimum to reduce any exposure.