The use of braces has seen significant changes and advancements over the years. People looking to straighten their teeth now have many cosmetic options such as lingual braces available to them. These options let patients find solutions for their alignment issues, without some of the typical troubles/inconveniences of conventional metal braces and will require x-rays.
The Big Why
Lingual braces are placed on the back teeth, which makes them practically invisible. This low visibility makes lingual braces a popular choice for adults. Patients using lingual braces can correct their smile without the unappealing look of traditional braces. For patients looking for an invisible solution, additional searching may be required to find the right orthodontist. Working with lingual braces requires a special skill set and not all orthodontists have these skills.
Before, during, and after receiving treatment with braces, patients receive x-ray imaging. These images, radiographs as they are officially known, are critical for the proper application and to ensure your health during any orthodontic treatment. Some patients may feel nervous that orthodontics requires a few x-rays. This feeling of nervousness stems from the idea that radiation is dangerous. However, the low dose received during a dental x-ray is completely safe.
For most patients, the three sets required during an orthodontic treatment plan is less than the amount received during one single airplane flight. To ensure the patient is not exposed to unsafe levels of radiation, orthodontists use x-rays only because there is value to the patient.
Diagnosis of Orthodontic Conditions
The first set of x-rays is typically done at the general dentist’s office – these are called bite wings. These images help identify many different conditions. Cavities, abscesses, and tumors are all readily diagnosed with these x-rays. With these images, dentists diagnose and treat conditions within their realm of study.
Once a patient has a referral to an orthodontist, a different x-ray will be needed. General dentistry uses bite wings that evaluate the actual tooth itself; the focus for these x-rays provides the right information for that use. Orthodontists are looking at characteristics that are different from a general dentist. Orthodontists look at things such as missing teeth, root and bone health, and jaw alignments. With these in mind, they will need to take another x-ray called a panoramic before treatment.
While studying these x-rays, the orthodontist will create an appropriate treatment plan. Braces are a common way to treat many orthodontic issues, and there are now many different options available.
The goal of any orthodontic treatment is to place the teeth and bite where they should be. As the teeth shift, it is important to see how things are moving. While some of these changes are obvious to the naked eye, a great deal of shifting is happening below the gum line. This requires imaging to get a clear understanding of how treatment is working. Using this information, orthodontists can see the changes and confirm that the roots and bones are still healthy.
In Rare Cases
In rare cases, the use of braces may cause the shortening of roots called root resorption. This is a side-effect that needs to be addressed. An x-ray halfway through treatment is required to check that patients are not experiencing this effect. This ensures that the patient is healthy throughout the treatment period. If root resorption is found, the orthodontist can adjust the treatment plan as required, based on the x-ray and change in root length.
Radiology Imaging After Treatment
Once the patient has finished the duration of their treatment plan, another round of x-rays is required. This set is used to see the improvement provided by the treatment. There is a significant amount of hype and fear around the use of radiation in the form of x-rays. However, orthodontists must weigh the small risk with the benefit of this key diagnostic tool. As such, any recommended x-ray is done for a specific reason and with your health in mind.
At ELOS we can advise you on any lingual treatment and the necessary X-rays that are needed for completing your perfect smile. Contact us here and we will help you find your nearest ELOS member orthodontist for immediate and expert treatment.
Why does the [lingual] orthodontist need to X-ray?