Why Do Orthodontists Take X-Rays?

Post by: / January 21, 2022

Why Do Orthodontists Take X-Rays?

Did you ever wonder why our orthodontists take x-rays of your teeth?

Some things may be hiding that can only be seen through x-rays. You may not realize it, but most of what happens with your teeth occurs below the gum line! Orthodontists have to make sure that your teeth and bones are healthy before we move them; this is why x-rays are a vital tool for our orthodontists.


Why do you need to take x-rays if you’re just moving my teeth?

Teeth move through bone. In order for tooth movement movement to occur safely, the teeth and the bones have to be healthy. Taking radiographs ensures that the teeth and bones are healthy before movement begins. This allows us to address any dental health issues before starting (for example cavities or gum disease). Our doctors also use x-rays to spot problems early on like missing teeth, extra teeth, or teeth coming into the wrong positions.


What x-rays are taken at the orthodontist?

  • A panoramic x-ray creates an image of your entire mouth including all your teeth, jaw bones, jaws joints and surrounding structures. This x-ray allows our orthodontists to check all of the teeth to make sure that they are coming in to the proper position. We can also screen for any other issues that may exist within your bones and jaw joints. Panoramic x-rays also will help identify any missing or extra teeth, which is more common than you think!


  • A cephalometric x-ray shows a side view of your head.  Our orthodontists use this x-ray to assess the angle of your teeth and to see how your upper and lower jaws fit together. It also allows our orthodontists to assess the growth of our patients, which is an important factor in their treatment plan.

How are these x-rays different than the ones taken at my dentist’s office?

Your dentist takes close up x-rays of the teeth to look for cavities and gum disease. The x-rays taken at the orthodontist evaluate the position of all of the teeth as well as a big picture of the jaw bones and how they fit together. All of these types of x-rays are important for different reasons!


We always work together with your general dentist and are happy to send the x-rays taken in our office to them!


How often will I have x-rays taken?

At your initial consultation, you will have x-rays taken to help our orthodontists evaluate the position of the teeth and jaw bones. This will help them formulate a diagnosis and customized treatment plan just for you!


During treatment, our doctors may request x-rays to check your progress and assess the health and position of the roots of your teeth.


Are the x-rays harmful?

Did you know that dental x-rays emit less radiation than one day in the sun, or one international plane ride? Dental x-rays have very low doses of radiation and are considered safe. In our office, we use digital dental x-rays which have an even lower dosage of radiation than traditional x-rays. Our orthodontists also keep the number of x-rays taken to a minimum to reduce exposure and only take them when necessary.


Early detection of orthodontic problems may help you avoid more costly, invasive treatment down the road. A comprehensive exam, including the appropriate x-rays, may help your orthodontist identify and correct a problem while it is developing.


If you are interested in a consultation at our office, please contact us at 416-921-6772 and we would be glad to help you!



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