Lateral X-Ray oft he head (Cephalogram)
For the lateral x-ray of the skull internationally the term cephalogram (ceph) is used, while in Germany the term „Fernröntgenbild seitlich“, which means lateral teleradiograph is preferred.
With a ceph, the position of the jaws to the skull can be measured along with the location and inclination of the teeth. This form of diagnosis is interesting for educating young orthodontists as well as for scientific research, but it doesn’t contribute much to the planning of conventional orthodontic treatments. While a ceph is standard during post-graduate education orthodontics, this record is not usually required by experienced orthodontists. Unfortunately, in the course of orthodontic treatment it’s of common use to take at least two cephs, which is questionable because they don’t contribute to the treatment planning in many cases. Moreover, the radiation protection of the patients should be considered – the less the better.
That is the reason why in our practice a ceph is only used in 20% of our treatments. For example, we will only consider using a ceph in cases when there is uncertainty whether or not permanent teeth should be removed. Another reason for a ceph could be when tooth movement with mini-screws as skeletal anchors is planned. Moreover, we always use a ceph when surgical jaw displacements are to be carried out.
A ceph with modern, digital x-ray equipment causes a radiation exposure of about 5 micro-Sievert, which is about the equivalent exposure to radiation at sea level in about a day. Thus, it is a small radiation dose.