Nobody loves getting their teeth checked and worked on, but it’s a necessity if you want to maintain your health. If you’ve recently visited an orthodontist, you may be wondering why you need another round of X-rays. Whether Invisalign or a serious jaw problem, you’ll need to have one taken. In this post, we’ll explain why orthodontists need to X-ray. Let’s get going.
People Also Ask
- Do you need X-rays for braces?
Your orthodontist may use X-rays for the same reasons why a general dentist would use them. A bitewing X-ray shows a detailed image of a group of teeth. This lets the medical professional see how healthy the enamel, roots and canals are.
- What X-rays do orthodontists take?
A cephalometric X-ray is a diagnostic radiograph used primarily for orthodontic treatment planning. In terms of Invisalign, they will use an iTero wand and make a 3-D image to send to Align Technology.
- What is the purpose of a cephalometric radiograph?
A cephalometric x-ray enables the capture of a complete radiographic image of the side of the face. This shows jawbone and soft tissues beyond what can be seen with the naked eye.
What is an X-Ray?
An X-ray, also called a radiograph, is an image. An image that’s created when a radiation beam passes through the body and to a sensor. On old machines, the radiation would hit film. They are able to create images that show how dense the tissues in the mouth are. Also, the shadows that are cast show if there’s an object invisible to the naked eye.
Are Orthodontic X-rays Safe?
Some people concern themselves with the safety of X-rays and don’t want to expose themselves to harm. For this reason, many will avoid having the necessary dental work done. Which could result in more serious and painful teeth and jaw problems. It is important to note that they emit less radiation than they’d get on one airline flight.
X-rays in Dentistry vs. Orthodontics
Your orthodontist may use X-rays for the same reasons why a general dentist would use them. A bitewing type shows a detailed image of a group of teeth. This lets the medical professional see how healthy the enamel, roots and canals are. Fillings and enamel, which are dense, will appear white. Bone, root canals and decay aren’t as dense and thus will appear darker.
While an orthodontist is not a dentist, they may focus on the same things as a dentist. Like identifying any present mouth problems, such as tumors and abscesses. Their main goal isn’t always straightening the teeth. Sometimes there are more serious issues that need dealing with. Sometimes, these pathologies are first identified by the orthodontist, not the dentist.
What Do Orthodontists Do With X-Rays?
X-rays can help to diagnose and treat orthodontic issues. They will often focus on the form and position of the jaws and teeth. Not on individual teeth or bitewings. The teeth issues that are of most interest are missing or extra teeth, impacted teeth, or roots. Jaw problems may include bones that are too large, too small. It might be off-center, far apart or too close together.
X-rays help the medical professional figure out where the problem is originating from
The X-ray offers important information. This helps the medical professional figure out where the problem is originating from. And, in turn, how to best correct it. They will show the size, position and shape of the bone and teeth. thus, helping to determine if extraction or surgery is necessary.
Monitoring Treatment and Progress
X-rays throughout treatment mean a full measure of how well the treatment is working. The effects of orthodontic treatment may not be obvious without the help of the images. For example, in about 2% of people, moving teeth can make the roots shorter. It’s important to check how the treatment is progressing. If the teeth movement is causing a root problem, the doctor will need to know when to stop moving the teeth.
Also, they will help the doctor to complete the treatment strategy. For example, many doctors will want to avoid removing permanent teeth whenever possible. If there’s a slight crowding problem with the teeth, they’ll start to align.
Then the teeth and bone will show how well they have responded. If an image reveals that there isn’t enough bone to fit all the teeth, some teeth may need removing. The image could also show that there is enough bone, which would let the doctor avoid having to remove any teeth.
Once treatment has concluded, an X-ray will help the doctor check success of the treatment. They’ll then be able to make recommendations for follow-up procedures. For example, wisdom teeth may need removing. It’s not uncommon for successive dental treatments needed.
Yet, it’s probable that you would know about all the treatments before beginning. The exception would be if something goes wrong with your treatment. In which case a follow-up treatment to fix the resulting problem will occur.
A Sample X-Ray Schedule
Many doctors will take one X-ray before treatment begins to assess the problem. They’ll then take another approximately six months after treatment. This is to assess progress. This is what would happen in long-term treatment. Like if the patient is wearing braces or Invisalign. Then, a final image would once the treatment is over. If the treatment is especially long, you may need another mid-treatment. This is to track progress.
A majority of dental professionals are careful to not over-use X-rays. They’ll only do this when it’s necessary to reduce the risk of harm as much as possible. When in doubt, don’t be afraid to ask your doctor why they’re taking another image. If you recently had your dentist take an X-ray, it’s possible that your doctor can use that instead of taking a new one.
In these times, orthodontists will use an iTero scanner to show patients the result of their Invisalign treatment. This means no goopy mess and a digital record accessible by any expert at the click of a button.
- 3X faster ClinCheck setups
- 10X fewer rejections
- Simulated outcomes for patients#
Remember, orthodontic treatment will give you a boost of confidence. And make your smile shine. Dr. Gluck is here for you to bring out the best in your smile. Make your appointment today with Dr. Jonathan Gluck.
Dr. Joel Gluck has practiced orthodontics since 1983 when he opened his own office in Nashville. He earned his undergraduate degree at Washington University in St. Louis, and his dental degree at the University of Tennessee. Dr. Gluck then completed an orthodontic specialty residency at the University of Michigan, one of the top five orthodontic training residencies in the country. He also wrote an original thesis and received a Master of Science degree.