Benefits of Lateral Cephalometric X-Ray

Why take a lateral cephalometric x-ray?

Like other types of cephalometric x-rays, the lateral cephalometric x-ray is very helpful in dental and orthodontic treatment planning. It can be used in many stages of treatment to determine what is the next best stage. However, the lateral cephalometric x-ray in particular is used by dentists and orthodontists because it can provide specific images of the mandible, or jaw, and its relationship to the maxilla, or cheek bone.

This can be useful in many different types of treatment plans, and it may be recommended as an analytical tool by your doctor. The difference between a lateral and horizontal cephalometric x-ray is that a lateral x-ray provide a photo of the side (lateral) view, while a horizontal x-ray provides a view of the top.

Benefits of the lateral cephalometric x-ray

One of the biggest benefits of the lateral cephalometric x-ray is the advantage of “natural” head positioning. The lateral cephalometric x-ray uses a line known as the true vertical as an external reference point. Because the true vertical is generated by gravity and the head is in its normal positioning, a doctor or orthodontist can study the head as it would be positioned without any additional altering. This is why many refer to the lateral cephalometric x-ray as revealing the “natural” head positioning through the use of the true vertical.

How the lateral cephalometric x-ray is taken

The lateral cephalometric x-ray is a quick and painless procedure. It is taken in a Cephalostat, with the x-ray beam perpendicular to the patient’s sagittal plane. The beam most commonly enters on your right side, with the film cassette adjacent to your left side, so that your head is oriented to the right on the radiograph. While this is the most common type of lateral cephalometric x-ray, the reverse convention can also be used.

Results of a lateral cephalometric x-ray

The lateral cephalometric x-ray will return a high-quality, 2D radiograph that the doctor can use to assess many different landmark points and planes of reference on your skull. The relationship of these to one another and to standard norms can then be quantified when determining appropriate steps in your treatment.