The orthodontic records appointment is your very first step toward a patient’s orthodontic treatment. The orthodontic record is an evaluation tool that is used by orthodontists to determine the treatment needs of the patient. These records aid the orthodontists to provide the most optimal treatment plan, making this a very important step in the process.
This process provides the orthodontists with all of the necessary information, and even more. Often times this information is not evident by the visual examination alone. Therefore it’s important to document the patient’s orthodontic problem to help determine the most appropriate treatment. These records also serve then as a means to determine progress through the treatment and post treatment to evaluate the outcome and decide what further treatment or precautions are necessary.
Before the orthodontist begins planning a proposed treatment plan these orthodontic records must be completed thoroughly. The orthodontist will study these records and determine exactly how the patient’s jaw bones and teeth are positioned and customize a unique treatment plan for each individual case. Below, you will find an extensive list of all of the factors that make up your orthodontic records:
Sometimes also referred to as alginate impressions, these guys are used to give the orthodontist an exact duplicate of a patient’s mouth. The model of the mouth is made through a process of pouring stone into an impression mold. The orthodontist uses this model to study the current positioning of a patient’s teeth and can thereby predict the relationship between the upper and lower teeth in the future.
Today, a more technologically advanced solution has emerged to enable orthodontists to obtain 3D images of a patient’s teeth and bite via a digital scanning process, digital impressions. Using a capture wand, and moving it slowly around the teeth it’s able to capture images from all angles of the teeth. Once plugged into the software, the images are stitched together to form a digital model of the patient’s mouth. This eliminates the need for the aforementioned physical impression.
The panoramic x-ray is a 2D display of both the upper and lower jaws and teeth shown on the same film. This type of x-ray is important for patients in their adolescence, because the dentist can easily view their developing teeth and use that to predict where they will break through in the mouth. Adult patients undergoing or considering orthodontic treatment may also have this x-ray taken in order to examine current health and level of the jaw bone.
Cone Beam CT
Yet another new technology in orthodontic imaging is the CBCT. This exam provides much more in-depth and reliable information that can be useful in orthodontic treatment and diagnosis. When using the CBCT the orthodontist is provided with a 3D view of the patient’s teeth and jaws to help and see more spatial information. This can be especially important in the case patients with a cleft palate or patients with impacted teeth. The CBCT can provide many different views for the orthodontist i.e. standard panoramic and cephalometric views.
The cephalometric x-ray captures the patient from their side profile, this begins from the top of their head until just below the tip of the chin. In the cephalometric analyses is a valuable exam because it not only shows the teeth and the bone, but it also includes soft tissues which can help the orthodontist predict how the bone will structure, and its potential to change during orthodontic treatment.
While dentists and orthodontists used to use tracing paper and trace the ceph using key landmarks on the x-ray, yet again new technologies have come along to improve the accuracy and ease orthodontists. With programs like CephX, you can upload your ceph images into the cloud and with RTS (remote tracing services) within 2 business days your traces will be printable, editable, and viewable from the cloud. One of the greatest advantages of working in the cloud, is keeping track of a patient’s progress for legal reasons. If a patient claims they’ve been harmed by your practice, CephX can provide proof through their image storage anywhere and at anytime.
Once the orthodontist has received all of the completed exams and records, all of the potential treatment options are recorded into the patient’s file. Then an additional consultation with the patient is in order to discuss the potential treatment options. During this consultation a final treatment option is to be agreed upon and necessary appointments can be scheduled to begin treatment.