Why Do Orthodontists Use X-Rays?

Have you ever wondered why orthodontists use x-rays? Well, the About Faces and Braces team is here today to help you answer your question! There is only so much of your teeth and jaw that we can physically see, so we rely on the power of x-rays to help us learn more and figure out how we can best help your smile journey. Read on to learn more about how we use x-rays to help further your treatment, the different kinds we take, and their procedure.


What Are X-Rays? 

Referred to as dental radiography by orthodontists, x-rays refer to a specific type of radiation called electromagnetic waves, which are emitted to capture images of the inside of your body. It captures your tissue and bone structure, but orthodontists focus on your teeth and jaw, their alignment, and the permanent teeth versus baby teeth you have left.

What Is Their Purpose? 

It is a quick and painless procedure that offers Dr. Shawn and Dr. Candice a wealth of information when determining what complications your teeth suffer from and creating your personalized treatment plan to resolve them. We also use them to monitor your progress throughout orthodontic care to ensure your teeth are moving in the correct direction.

Are They Safe? 

Yes, x-rays are absolutely safe! Before taking the image, our orthodontic treatment coordinator will provide you with a lead apron that goes over your head to shield you from radiation exposure and reduce the already minimal risk. Because x-rays take less than a minute, the benefits of receiving an appropriate diagnosis outweigh the minimal exposure.

Though completely harm-free, Dr. Shawn and Dr. Candice will only propose you get an x-ray when it is essential to learn more about your teeth so as not to expose you to any radiation unnecessarily. 

How Dental and Orthodontic X-Rays Differ 

You may have gotten an x-ray from your dentist right before your next orthodontist appointment and wanted to simply bring this one in for Dr. Shawn and Dr. Candice’s reference. However, the x-ray taken at your dentist takes pictures of different things than the technology we use at our orthodontic office.

As mentioned, orthodontic x-rays scan for tooth and jaw alignment, permanent versus baby teeth, and their roots. On the other hand, dental x-rays check for tooth roots, decay, and growth. While this is important for our team to know, we need additional information to align your treatment correctly. 


When Are X-Rays Taken?

Before Treatment 

X-rays are one of the many tools About Faces and Braces uses in determining your treatment plan. During your free consultation, we will examine the results of your images. As mentioned, we use this information on the current positioning of your teeth and gums to establish the most effective way to straighten them out.

During Treatment

X-rays will not be taken continuously throughout treatment, but you can expect one towards the end to identify areas of your teeth that require extra attention to detail and to check on your teeth roots. The final phase of your treatment is our team making minor adjustments to your appliance to ensure your teeth are in their ideal position before it is removed.

After Treatment

To evaluate if the results we can physically see match the work done to your bones and jaw inside, an x-ray may be taken to ensure your treatment is officially complete. We also use these results to help determine how to keep your new smile intact long-term.


Why Do Orthodontists Use X-Rays?

Types of X-Rays We Take


There are two types of x-rays we capture at About Faces and Braces, the first one being a panoramic X-ray. It captures a comprehensive 2-D view of your upper and lower jaw, teeth, and jaw joint (TMJ), allowing us a more detailed view of your alignment and development. In other words, it helps give an idea of everything going on in your mouth so we can figure out how to address your needs.


Often referred to as the traditional orthodontic x-ray, cephalometric x-rays capture an extremely detailed side view of how the upper and the lower jaw interact. We can see the relationship of your facial bones and use this information to, once again, establish how they can be improved with orthodontic treatment.


What Is The Procedure? 

Preparation and Protective Gear

To start, we ask that you remove any items that could potentially interfere with the x-ray, including jewelry, glasses, hearing aids, and similar metal objects. Keeping any of these items on your body can result in a poorly accurate image due to scattered x-rays and increased exposure to radiation.

Getting You Into Position

Next, our treatment coordinator will guide you on correctly placing your jaw and teeth. Heeding our staff’s directions is essential so the correct angle is captured. We will then ask you to remain in that position until after the x-ray has been taken.

Taking The X-Ray 

Finally, you are ready for the x-ray. All you need to do is stay still and allow our treatment coordinator to set up the machine for operation. We guarantee it to be a quick and painless process. It will emit a focused beam of radiation toward where we want the image taken. Our team will let you know once the x-ray is complete and you can return to normal position.  

Reviewing Your Results

From here, your work is finished! Our treatment coordinator will prepare your images for examination by Dr. Shawn and Dr. Candice. From start to finish, the entire procedure takes no more than five minutes, thanks to advancements in digital x-rays, so you can count on reliable answers quickly!

Why Do Orthodontists Use X-Rays?

Start Your Smile Journey With Us Today!

X-rays share with orthodontists a lot more than what meets the eyes and help our team at About Faces and Braces to provide you with the expert orthodontic care you deserve. Serving Springfield, Clarksville, Nashville, Bellevue, and the surrounding communities, we are dedicated to helping you reach your smile goals. Contact our office today to schedule your free consultation and begin your orthodontic journey!