Cephalometric

Specialty of Radiology

What is a Cephalometric X-ray?

A Cephalometric X-ray, also known as a Ceph X-ray, is a diagnostic radiograph used in orthodontic treatment planning. X-rays, in general, allow the orthodontist to view the teeth, jawbone and soft tissues beyond what can be seen with the naked eye. It is similar to the panoramic X-ray in that it displays the nasal and sinus passages and has the capability of capturing a full view of the skull and neck. No plates or film are inserted into the mouth, unlike with a panoramic X-ray. The Ceph X-ray captures the image differently than a panoramic X-ray by using a side-side sweeping motion instead of the full 360 degrees non-stop motion.
 

What is the process of a Ceph X-ray?

The Cephalometric X-ray focuses on the side view of the patient’s head. The technician positions the patient accordingly and for specific criteria. The exposure takes around ten seconds and the X-ray is developed in approximately five to six minutes. Once the X-ray is developed, the dentist uses tracing paper to trace the ceph in order to calculate how the patient’s jaw and surrounding bone will be affected by orthodontic treatment. The dentist will look at the growth pattern of the jaw and teeth, which determines potential routes of treatment.
 

What are Ceph X-rays used for?

Cephalometric X-rays are most commonly used to:

• Explore possible temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) concerns
• Assess the causes of excessive tooth misalignment – especially in cases of overbite or underbite
• Diagnose tooth and jaw fractures
• Analyse precise measurement of teeth and their root structures
• Plan orthodontic work
 

How is a Ceph X-ray similar to a panoramic X-ray?

Both Cephalometric X-ray and Panorex X-rays are similar. The Panorex X-ray has several uses for orthodontic assessments, diagnosis of wisdom teeth impact, periodontal disease, assessing jaw joints and detecting oral cancer. The patient bites down on a specialised tool that works to assist the operator in positioning the head of the patient into the correct place. The patient must remain very still and once the image is taken it is evaluated digitally on a computer or it is processed onto film, which is more of the traditional approach.

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