Why Does the Orthodontist Need to X-ray?

ijmsv07p0378g05_x-rayPeople are generally accustomed to x-rays when they visit the dentist, but are often surprised that these x-rays cannot be sent to their orthodontist for use. No one likes unnecessary x-rays, particularly in young people, but the x-rays taken by dentists are different than those used by orthodontists.

Dentists typically perform what are known as bitewing x-rays, which provide a detailed, look at a small group of teeth. The dentist can assess the health of the teeth by getting a clear picture of the enamel, canals and roots. Orthodontists use x-rays for a different purpose. X-rays used by orthodontists focus on the position of the teeth and jaws as a whole, rather than on individual teeth. Without these big picture x-rays, the orthodontist cannot make an appropriate treatment plan.

Receiving orthodontic x-rays in Fresno is a common part of the treatment plan. Typically x-rays are performed before treatment begins, once during treatment, and at the end of treatment. In some cases, a patient may require additional x-rays. The x-rays at the beginning of treatment are used to determine the size and location of roots, whether the patient has any extra, misshapen or impacted teeth. These x-rays also show if the bones in the jaw are properly sized and aligned. It is important for the orthodontist to have this information while planning treatment.

After the patient has been in treatment, another set of x-rays are performed. This allows the orthodontist to see how the roots are responding to treatment. In some rare cases, roots can shorten under the stress of movement. If this happens, the orthodontist may want to adjust the treatment plan.

At the end of treatment, x-rays are used to ensure that the jaw and roots are aligned, and to determine if there are additional issues, such as wisdom teeth, that require treatment. This final set of x-rays helps ensure that the benefits of the patient’s orthodontic work last.

Additional x-rays are sometimes required during treatment. If the teeth are not moving as expected, or the patient is experiencing more than typical discomfort from treatment, diagnostic x-rays may be necessary. Abscesses, tumors and other health problems can cause problems during orthodontic treatment. Diagnosing and treating these conditions not only speeds the treatment process, but is also important for overall health. Because the patient will be seeing the orthodontist more frequently than their regular dentist, the orthodontist is in a unique position to diagnose these problems. If the orthodontist left some teeth in, but felt that crowding may be an issue, x-rays taken part way through treatment can help the orthodontist decide if the teeth need to stay or go.

Regardless of the office you or your child is considering, orthodontic x-rays in Clovis or Fresno are kept to a minimum. Exposure to radiation during the entire treatment process is kept to a minimum and x-rays are only performed when necessary.

At Nalchajian Orthodontics, we understand the concern over unnecessary procedures. Orthodontic x-rays in Fresno and Clovis offices are performed as part of a successful treatment plan. If you are concerned about the number of orthodontic x-rays in Clovis or Fresno offices, feel free to discuss it with us.

Nalchajian Orthodontics – 7501 N Fresno St, Suite 105, Fresno, CA 93720

Phone: (559) 432 7100

Why Does the Orthodontist Need to X-ray?

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