As you already know, there’s way more to your teeth than what meets the eye. You might think your teeth are kind of like bones, but they’re actually very different and much stronger. The enamel covering your teeth is actually the strongest thing in your body! Each of your teeth has roots that extend deep into your mouth and anchor them to your jawbone. If your teeth aren’t bones, you might be wondering what x-rays have to do with orthodontics, but they are crucial in determining oral health.
What Do X-Rays Show?
An x-ray can be used to get a good look at many things going on beneath the surface of your gums. With an x-ray, and orthodontist can see fillings, enamel, root canals, tooth decay, and obviously, bones. Even tumors can be seen in x-rays. These things are determined by the light and dark areas on the x-rays. Medical professionals, like your orthodontist or dentist, are able to essentially read these x-rays to see what’s going on in there.
Why are X-Rays Used?
Since you can see problems and existing dental work with an x-ray, they are crucial in an orthodontist’s ability to determine your best course of treatment if you are going to straighten your teeth out. Orthodontists use x-rays for a few different reasons. They can be used to check the progress of your treatment and make sure it’s flowing smoothly. They can help diagnose any potential issues that might be present before beginning treatment so they can be dealt with beforehand. They can also help to determine if there are any issues in your jawbone that might inhibit your treatment plan. Things like this need to be heavily considered for each patient since each mouth is entirely unique. Being able to get a very close and detailed look makes treatment much safer than it would be if orthodontists were just going in blindly, so to speak.
Different Kinds of X-rays
X-rays of adults and children have completely different purposes. For children, it’s very useful to see the adult teeth that have yet to grow in. They are also able to help the orthodontist, in a sense, predict what’s going to happen with their teeth in the coming years. Adults typically get panoramic x-rays, which give a panoramic view of their entire mouth. This clearly shows everything going on in the mouth and is helpful in coming up with a plan for treatment.
Are They Safe?
In short, yes, x-rays are perfectly safe. The amount of radiation you are exposed to while getting an x-ray is such a small amount there is no harm being done to your body. This is something you shouldn’t worry about in the slightest as x-rays do infinitely more good for health than harm.
Despite the fact they’re completely safe, orthodontists (and other medical professionals) wouldn’t give you an x-ray if you didn’t need one or if they felt it unnecessary. They are necessary in orthodontic treatment, though, because they can ensure your treatment goes smoothly and there are not any underlying oral issues.
If you or your child are curious about x-rays, be sure to ask one of the friendly staff members at Milnor Orthodontics and they will tell you more!