Dental x-rays are a necessary part of many different dental procedures, including any orthodontic interventions. Sometimes the success of a procedure depends on the dentist being able to see beneath the skin and muscles that otherwise cover the face. When this needs to happen to secure the best solution, or when the patient’s health can be affected by the procedure, then getting a dental x-ray is absolutely necessary.
When orthodontic x-rays become necessary
At the beginning of the orthodontic treatment, when the dentist is setting up a study model to see what kind of brace will be the most efficient for your condition, an x-ray will need to be taken. If the treatment goes according to plan, than that will be the only time that an x-ray will become necessary, but that first, initial x-ray is absolutely mandatory.
Why is a dental x-ray mandatory for orthodontic treatment?
A dental x-ray is necessary for more than one reason. First of all, it allows the dentist to see where the tooth roots are, how they are anchored, and thus, in what way they can be moved and shifted without causing harm underneath the gums. In cases of extreme crowding, dental extractions may become necessary. Seeing where the tooth roots are and what is underneath the gums is absolutely mandatory before an extraction, as otherwise you run the risk of seriously damaging the other teeth, the dental nerve and the soft tissues. A dental x-ray is also necessary to see the way the jaws are shaped and how the teeth will grow. This is the only way to make a good study model.
Wisdom teeth frequently only partially erupt and remain impacted underneath the gums. Many times they grow sideways, or irregularly, and in order to correct the bite and the smile, an x-ray will be necessary, in order to see where and how the wisdom teeth are affecting the rest of the teeth.
If there is any type of complication during the orthodontic treatment, then another x-ray may become necessary, to see how the treatment is affecting the areas underneath the gum line. If the patient reports pain, or bleeding, or if the teeth are shifting in ways that were not predictable, then another x-ray may be necessary. Medical science is not an exact science, and there is no way to tell how a given individual will react to orthodontic treatment, although precedents have been set.
Are dental x-rays harmful?
Although x-ray beams are carcinogenic, they are much, much reduced in this day and age, after the old x-ray were linked with a rare and difficult brain tumour. Nowadays the gamma radiation is greatly reduced, and since the dentist only needs an x-ray very rarely, there really is nothing to fear from getting dental x-rays.