Orthodontic Exams

Here is an overview of the types of orthodontic examinations and records that the orthodontist uses to plan treatment:

Medical and Dental History Evaluation

Orthodontic treatments cannot begin until other existing medical and dental issues are resolved or are at least under control. Gum disease, for example, is often exacerbated by fixed braces and must be treated prior to orthodontic treatment. Dental health greatly impacts physical health and vice versa. Certain prescription medications can affect teeth and gums, so great care must be taken to evaluate the whole picture of medical and dental concerns.

Bite Impressions

Bite impressions or molds are invaluable tools in determining the exact nature of the malocclusion. Molds allow a closer look at how the upper and lower jaws fit together. Alginate, a soft material that hardens on the teeth, is poured into a horseshoe-shaped tray, producing an imprint. Plaster is then poured into the impressions, resulting in a model of the teeth.

Photographs of the Face and Mouth

The orthodontist takes regular photographs of the face and mouth. This shows how the treatment is progressing and impacting overall facial appearance. Facial photographs also allow for the measurement of facial proportions.

Computer-Generated Pictures of the Head and Neck

Computer-generated pictures of the head and neck allow the orthodontist to measure facial proportions and to determine ideal facial aesthetic. Facial appearance is an important consideration to make when planning treatment.

Panoramic X-rays of the Jaws and Teeth

Panoramic x-rays offer excellent insight into the general health of the teeth, gums and jawbone. X-rays show precise root structures of the teeth and inform the orthodontist as to how the upper and lower jaws fit together. X-rays of the temporomandibular jaw joint may also be taken, as necessary.

If you have any questions about orthodontic examinations or records, please ask our office

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