There will come a time in your orthodontic treatment plan when you need to get an X-ray, and you may feel as though it’s a bit unnecessary. After all, you’ve just gotten an X-ray done at your last dentist visit, so why do you need to get it done again? What you may not know is X-rays vary between dentists and orthodontists, and what an orthodontist needs is a little more in-depth than your traditional dental X-ray. In knowing how your orthodontist plans to use your X-rays during your treatment, you’ll be able to realize the importance of them. Here’s how X-rays are used in orthodontics.
What Are X-Rays?
First off, let’s bring everyone up to speed on what X-rays actually are and how they’re used in the fields of dentistry and orthodontics. An X-ray is a radiograph, which takes images by way of a radiation beam. The interesting part about X-rays is they’re able to see through skin and soft tissue and are absorbed by bones. The bones then throw back an image, which is used by doctors, dentists and orthodontists to get a better look at what’s going on inside.
The Importance of X-Rays in Orthodontics
In getting a more in-depth look at what’s going on in your mouth, your orthodontist can construct a more accurate treatment plan. X-rays are the most accurate ways to help orthodontists find the best plan to correctly align the teeth and jaws through braces, Invisalign or other means of treatment. An X-ray is also the only way for an orthodontist to see the roots of the teeth. This is especially important, because this can help your orthodontist determine whether or not your treatment plan is working or if it needs to be altered, based on your progress.
An Orthodontic X-Ray
Your dental X-ray is not the same as one from your orthodontist, which is why you can’t rely on it for your orthodontic treatment. Dental X-rays tend to show the following:
- Tooth decay
- Tooth growth
- Roots of teeth
However, orthodontic X-rays providing a closer look into what’s going on in the mouth, such as:
- Roots of all teeth in a panoramic view
- Baby teeth vs. permanent teeth
- Tooth alignment
- Jaw alignment
You can expect your orthodontist to take two X-rays before you’re fitted with braces or Invisalign. You will also, over the course of your treatment, have an X-ray to see how your teeth are reacting. This is the normal procedure, but it can vary from patient to patient, depending on the severity of the orthodontic issue. Be prepared for children to need more X-rays than adults, since their teeth and mouth are still growing.
X-Rays and Orthodontics
Now that you know why orthodontic X-rays are different, you’ll be able to understand the importance of them in your treatment plan. The next time your orthodontist wants to take an X-ray, you’ll know that they’re only making sure they’re giving you the best orthodontic treatment possible, and that you’re one step closer to getting the smile you’ve always wanted.
Let the experts at Charleston Orthodontic Specialists help you on your path to a beautiful smile. Call (843) 4-BRACES to get started with our friendly team of professionals!