Why Do Orthodontists Use X-Rays?

Here at Shine Orthodontics, we want our patients to feel informed, confident, and excited about their orthodontic treatment. That’s why we go the extra mile to answer your questions, as well as do everything we can to anticipate questions you might not have thought of yet. For example –  why do orthodontists use X-rays? You can find the answers right here. 


Orthodontic Radiography? What’s That?

Orthodontic radiography is another name for the procedure, more commonly known as X-ray. 

So, what are X-rays? X-rays are a natural emission of light on the spectrum above the visible wavelength. The higher wavelength of these X-rays allows them to penetrate the soft tissue of the body in order to visualize the teeth and bones. But not to worry! Just like X-rays can’t be seen by the naked eye, they also can’t be felt. 

X-rays are an important tool for orthodontists like Dr. McGrogan in developing a complete picture of your orthodontic health.



When might I need an X-ray? 

X-rays are a common part of orthodontic treatment. We should all have them performed multiple times throughout life to provide a picture of our orthodontic health that our doctors can work from.  

We’ll take X-rays of your teeth and jaw before, during, as well as after your orthodontic treatment. 

X-rays Prior to Treatment 

We’ll take X-rays before any clinical assessment of the teeth and jaw can be made. Dr. McGrogan will develop your customized treatment plan by carefully consulting the X-rays taken during initial visits. The technology will allow him to determine the oral system’s overall health, including determining the presence of any underlying health problems. Any issues such as gum disease must be treated properly prior to orthodontic treatment. 

In some cases, using more complex, 3-dimensional X-rays (such as those found in a cone beam scan) may be appropriate to assess any impacted teeth trapped by the jaw. Dr. McGrogan can also identify any joint problems, airway issues, or potential calls for combined surgery and orthodontic intervention.  

X-rays During Treatment 

Dr. McGrogan will often perform additional X-rays during your orthodontic treatment, often toward the end. These will allow Dr. McGrogan to receive crucial information about the need for bracket realignment. They are often necessary to check the position of the teeth and roots and ensure that treatment proceeds correctly. 

During the finishing phase of braces treatment, the final stage before removal, Dr. McGrogan will make small adjustments to maximize your smile. The X-rays will ensure that your teeth are in their proper position and allow Dr. McGrogan to make these crucial tiny adjustments with precision. 

Post-Treatment X-rays 

Dr. McGrogan and the team at Shine Orthodontics will check up to evaluate your results after your course of orthodontic care. The in-depth imaging of the X-ray process will allow him and the team to develop the best possible retention strategy for your continued orthodontic success. 

If you have any unerupted wisdom teeth, it’s crucial that we monitor their progress in case one becomes impacted or develops an infection. These can, in the most severe cases, even be life-threatening complications! X-rays are an important part of the strategy to ensure that never happens. 


Why Do Orthodontists Use X-Rays?

What Does Orthodontic Radiography (X-rays) Image? 

The vital imaging provided by X-rays gives Dr. McGrogan and the team critical information about the following: 

Wisdom Teeth 

The wisdom teeth can cause major problems in many patients, and it’s vital to track their growth, location, and sites of eruption before undergoing any orthodontic treatment. 

As discussed, wisdom teeth can have major health concerns, including the potential loss of life, when left unmonitored. As such, X-rays play a critical role in keeping you and your family safe and healthy!

Jaw Development

When we’re adolescents, the bones of the jaw finish their normal pattern of growth. If Dr. McGrogan believes that phase one treatment may be necessary for your child, he can use X-rays to ensure that the jaw hasn’t yet finalized its growth. 

If the jaw has finished growing and the palate is fused, appliances such as palatal expanders (often utilized in phase one orthodontic treatment to create proper spacing for the development of permanent teeth) become much less likely to be effective. Phase one treatment often seeks to widen the jaw to provide adequate room for the developing teeth and prevent overcrowding. 

Spotting Unerupted Teeth 

Tooth loss is often the result of the eruption, also known as tooth impaction. 

One of the most common causes of tooth loss is impaction. When a tooth doesn’t come through the gum completely, it may become infected or rub against another tooth. We need an X-ray to detect if a tooth is impacted earlier on. 

Tooth Position 

Dr. McGrogan will enhance his ability to diagnose and prepare your treatment plan with the imaging capabilities of X-rays. The X-ray will show how close your teeth lie to the nerves and sinuses, an important consideration when developing a plan. We’ll use X-rays to discover any badly developed, missing, or extraneous teeth. In addition, Dr. McGrogan can find any hidden abscesses, cysts, or potential tumors with an X-ray. 

Gingivitis and Other Oral Diseases  

Your X-ray will show any hidden decay between the teeth or below the fillings. Additionally, an X-ray will demonstrate any bone loss due to gum disease. 


Why Do Orthodontists Use X-Rays?

Ready to Smile? Give Us a Call! 

We know you want to be as informed as possible regarding your orthodontic treatment, and that’s why you’ve taken the time to read up on orthodontic X-rays with us. If you can’t find the answer to the questions above, just give us a call! 

Here at Shine Orthodontics, we’re always ready to serve our patients in and around Holly Springs. Our community is our family, so never hesitate to ask any questions or concerns. We can’t wait to see you!