December 21, 2017

What Is The Difference Between Orthodontic and Dental X-Rays?

When a patient is at our office for his or her first visit, Dr. Peralta will carry out a thorough oral examination to detect any current or potential problems with the teeth and jaws to determine if the patient can benefit from treatment. A part of this first visit may include us taking X-rays so Dr. Peralta can see what is happening below the gums. For instance, X-rays can help our West Seattle orthodontist detect issues like:


  • Missing or extra adult teeth
  • Impacted teeth
  • Misplaced teeth
  • Short, long or misshapen roots
  • Problems with the jawbone like a jawbone that’s too big or small, asymmetrical or misshapen.

Many patients hope that we can use old dental X-rays when they visit us for the first time. However, this isn’t possible because dental X-rays don’t provide all the information that Dr. Peralta needs. Below is an explanation of how the X-rays we take differ from those taken by your dentist.


Dental X-rays


The X-rays that your dentist commonly takes are called bite wing Xrays and periapical X-rays. With a bite wing X-ray, you bite down on a wing-shaped device that holds the film in place while the X-ray is being taken. This type of X-ray helps your dentist find decay between back teeth.


A periapical X-ray is similar to a bite wing X-ray but it shows the entire length of one or two teeth, from the crown to the root.


Your dentist may also take a panoramic X-ray every few years (or when a problem presents itself) to give him/her a view of all the teeth on both the upper and lower jaws.


Orthodontic Xrays


An orthodontist uses several types of X-rays to see what is happening with the jaws and below the gums including:


  • Panoramic X-rays – A panoramic X-ray that captures all the teeth on the upper and lower jaws is used to see emerging and impacted teeth and to monitor tooth development in children. If your dentist has taken a panoramic X-ray at some time during the twelve months prior to your first visit with Dr. Peralta, we can use that X-ray instead of taking a new one.  Just let us know, and we can request to have the X-ray sent to us.
  • Cephalometric X-rays – This type of X-ray can capture the entire side of the head so Dr. Peralta can see the relation between the teeth and the jaw.
  • CT Scans – This type of diagnostic record is occasionally needed to give Dr. Peralta a three- dimensional (3D) view of the teeth and jaws. A CT scan is particularly valuable when planning complex orthodontic treatment.

Contact Your Orthodontist in Seattle!
We hope this information has helped you understand how the X-rays we take are different from those your dentist takes. If you have any questions, we’d be happy to answer them so just contact us! If you’re ready to find out how we can help you achieve a remarkable new smile, please request your complimentary consultation today. We look forward to hearing from you soon!