At Cuozzo Orthodontics, we hear a lot of questions regarding the use (and the safety) of x-rays to evaluate a child’s orthodontic health and development. We hope this article will help you better understand our use of x rays as a diagnostic tool to determine your child’s course of treatment.
What are x-rays? X-rays, also called radiographs, are invisible beams of ionizing radiation. X-rays that are directed to the body do not pass through without changes but are absorbed differently by various tissues of the body. Once they pass through a body part, they are captured by the film and produce images in shades of gray showing calcified structures such as the jawbones, teeth, and other bony structures. The use of x-rays to create dental images is not painful, but during the procedure, the child must stay still or else the image may be fuzzy. In some cases, parents might be asked to help keep their child still while dental images are taken. Depending on the area of the jaw imaged and the type of dental image, a lead body apron may be used to reduce radiation exposure to other body areas not being imaged.
X-rays are a valuable diagnostic tool that enables Dr. Cuozzo to:
· Assess how your child’s teeth are erupting (coming into their mouth).
· Determine the number, size and position of teeth that are still inside the gums.
· See if there are any missing or extra teeth.
· Prepare for braces and other orthodontic treatment.
· Detect problems that can’t be seen with just a visual exam.
At Cuozzo Orthodontics, we use two types of x-rays to evaluate your child for possible orthodontic intervention:
Panoramic x-rays—These x-rays are used to view all of the teeth on one film. They also show the upper and lower jaws, the temporomandibular joints (TMJs) and the sinuses above the upper teeth. Panoramic x-rays, unlike other types of x-rays, unlike other types of x-rays, do not require a film to be put in the child’s mouth. This is helpful for children who gag easily or who have small mouths. This x-ray has to be exposed for 12 to 18 seconds. The patient must be able to sit still for that amount of time.
Orthodontic x-rays, also called cephalimetric (ceph) or lateral skull—This type of x-ray shows the head from the side. It is used to evaluate the growth of the jaws and the relationship of bones in the skull. A ceph x-ray helps Dr. Cuozzo make an accurate diagnosis and develop a treatment plan.
Dental x-rays are very safe and expose your child to a minimal amount of radiation. When all standard safety precautions are taken, today’s x-ray technology is able to eliminate unnecessary radiation. At Cuozzo Orthodontics, our x-ray equipment is less than 5 years old. With the most up-to-date x-ray equipment, exposure is greatly reduced.