1Q3. Diagnosis

Orthodontic Diagnosis:

How Orthodontic Records are used

Why does orthodontist need patient photos?

  • Facial photos – to evaluate how patients orthodontic problem is related to patients overall facial appearance. Help orthodontist determine the best position for patient’s anterior teeth to help improve or maintain patient appearance.
  • Intra oral film – help orthodontist better evaluate patient’s dental, periodontal, and orthodontic problems.

Why does orthodontist need panoramic, FMX, or additional xrays?

  • All dental and periodontal disease must be under control before initiation of orthodontic treatment and these radiographs are the best way to quickly screen for these problems.
  • These xrays provide diagnostic information that are necessary for certain aspect of orthodontic diagnosis and treatment plan. For example, absence or presence of a tooth, shortness of root, presence of tooth impaction, and location of impacted tooth - can all influence treatment objectives and treatment planning decisions.

Why does orthodontist need lateral cephalometric radiograph?

Lateral cephalometric film is used to evaluate hard and soft tissue profile. It is also used to compare the size and position of bony cranium, bony upper jaw, bony lower jaw, upper teeth, and lower teeth to each other and to the average norms.

There are also several cephalometric analysis methods that does not compare patient to a standard norm but are able to determine patient’s individual facial balance.

After determining which aspect of facial profile is excessive, deficient or not in ideal position, orthodontist can then plan out treatment to improve or at least not worsen patient profile while achieving other treatment objectives.

In essence, lateral cephalometric x-ray is both a diagnostic tool and a planning tool. Just as map is indispensible for driver in unfamiliar location, to determine where one is and how to arrive at their destination, lateral ceph is indispensible for orthodontist to determine where patient is and in which direction teeth should be moved to achieve optimal profile.