The cephalometric X-ray refers to a specialized tool with which dentists can completely capture the radiographic image of the side of the face. Generally, X-rays make it possible for dentists to analyze the jawbone, teeth and other tissues beyond the capabilities of the naked eye.
Cephalometric X-rays are known to be extraoral, which means there is no need to insert a film or plate inside the mouth. The sinus and nasal passages, which the intraoral bitewing X-rays missed, are displayed by the panoramic and Cephalometric X-rays.
Normally, a panoramic X-ray machine is used to take Cephalometric X-rays. This adapted equipment usually features a unique cephalometric film holder which mounts on a mechanical arm. The dentist can get a clear picture of the oral structure when the image from an X-ray gets exposed to ionization. There is an advantage of using both panoramic and cephalometric X-rays – they expose the body to less radiation.
Cephalometric X-rays seem to be less common than bitewing X-rays or “full sets,” but they perform a range of functions:
- Makes the jaw visible in relation to the cheekbone
- Show views of the side profile of the face
- Give information about malocclusions or “bad bites.”
- Allows the teeth’s measurement to be taken
- Identify any form of injuries or fractures to the jawbone or teeth
- Helps in the process of orthodontic planning.
How are cephalometric X-rays taken?
There is no pain associated with Cephalometric X-rays. The head is placed between the film holder and the mechanical rotating arm. The arm captures images of the teeth, mouth, and face as it rotates around the head. The way the body is positioned will determine the clarity of these images. Usually, the images get a magnification of up to 30%, which exposes any traces of diseases, decay or injury.
After cephalometric X-rays are captured, a full side profile of the head becomes visible to the dentist. This can make it possible to analyze the impact braces might have on the teeth and facial profile. Another benefit this type of x-ray has is that it can be used to determine specific measurements before the creation of dental implants.
Any concerns or questions you may have about cephalometric X-rays should be directed to your dentist.