In order to make a thorough and accurate orthodontic diagnosis, records are required. By law, all practitioners have to have a record of the patient’s teeth BEFORE they start orthodontic treatment and AFTER they are finished.  At our office, these consist of head x-ray, panoramic x-ray, study models (scans of the teeth), and photographs of the head and teeth. Read all about the different types of x-rays and models we can take for orthodontic records below.

Head X-Ray (Also known as Cephlometric Radiograph)

The head x-ray is essential to measure the size of the jaws and the position of the teeth. Because the head x-ray is termed a “cephalometric radiograph”, the technique of taking measurements on this x-ray is called a cephalometric analysis. These measurements help us to understand growth patterns and skeletal discrepancies.  

Teeth X-Ray (Also known as Panoramic Radiograph)

The teeth x-ray, or panoramic radiograph, is used to determine the presence of all the teeth, the health of the teeth roots, and the health of the underlying jawbone. A panoramic x-ray is also one of the better x-rays to view wisdom teeth with, even if they are not visible in the mouth yet. This x-ray, along with the head x-ray, is different from any other x-rays taken at your dentist’s office. Those smaller x-rays are mainly used to detect cavities or infections.  

Study Models or Study Model Scan

Digital or Plaster study models are made from alginate moldings or digital scans taken of the teeth.  These models provide a very accurate three-dimensional reproduction of the teeth and the bite. Precise measurements can be made on these models to determine the extent of teeth malpositions and the best way to correct them.


Photographs provide valuable information on facial esthetics, which is essential for a proper orthodontic diagnosis. Using White-screens, retractors and mirrors, the following images are taken:

  • Frontal Rest:  Picture of the face at rest
  • Frontal Smile:  Picture of the face smiling
  • Profile:  Picture of the profile of the face
  • 45 degree: Picture of the face on a slight angle smiling
  • Center: The front of the teeth in a biting position
  • Right Buccal:  The right side of the back teeth in biting position
  • Left buccal:  The left side of the back of the teeth in biting position
  • Upper occlusal:  Full upper arch photograph
  • Lower occlusal:  Full lower arch photograph

With today’s technology, we can often consult with you about the results of your records right away.  However, in some of the more difficult cases, the doctors may require more time to complete their diagnosis and prepare a treatment plan.  This requires a second consultation appointment.