There are many deformities that exist in the world of dentistry ranging from the head down to the neck. Deformities are common condition that are linked to birth defects or genetics (Merriam-Webster, 2019). They can be mild abnormalities to more severe defects that can require surgical correction. Because some conditions can be severe and detrimental to the patient’s well-being, they require x-rays to evaluate the conditions to see what can be done to correct the dentofacial abnormality. In the essay I will be explaining some of the known abnormalities that can affect a patient and how they are viewed in dentistry. I will also be explaining how they can affect the way the radiographer views an x-ray and why it is important to know of these deformities before the exposure.
One of the most known oral deformities is cleft lip/cleft palate. There are different types of oral clefts. An oral cleft palate is where there is a slit in the roof (hard palate) of the mouth. This is where the hard palate has a cleft extending towards the front of the mouth but not actually reaching the incisor area. A cleft lip is where the lip has a slit, sometimes coming from inside the mouth. A cleft lip is more physically visible whereas the cleft palate can be harder to see. Oral clefts can bring on some problems during development such as feeding issues, dental issues, constant ear aches, and even speech impediments. In order to avoid these problems most clefts are surgically corrected within the first year of a child’s life. The best way to view these types of clefts in dentistry would be by preforming an occlusal projection and a panoramic projection. Most children with clefts will required braces to fix the more crocked teeth affected by the cleft and surgery (‘Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate (for Kids)’, 2019).
Another abnormality in dentistry is a torus. It’s an overgrowth of bone that grows in certain parts of the mouth. Tori tend to grow on the roof of the mouth near the midline which is also known as tori palatini, on the inside of the lower jaw also known as lingual tori, and the outside of the upper molars also known as buccal exostoses. Although they can be bothersome tori are not harmful or cancerous. They are linked to the genetics of the person. They can easily be surgically removed. In dental radiographs tori appear as slightly radiopaque masses in area that would otherwise appear more radiolucent in x-rays. Sometimes the film packets can cause issues when trying to place receptors in a patient’s mouth but once properly placed, they can easily be viewed with periapical, occlusal, and panoramic images. The receptors can cause the patient to be uncomfortable when a torus is present so to accommodate for any pain the patient might feel, modify the technique. For more comfortability with a maxillary torus place the receptor to the far side of the torus and not directly on the torus. When mandibular tori are present placing the receptor in between the tongue and the tori will provide better comfort for the patient (Iannucci, 173).
In addition, overbites and underbites are also defects that can be seen in x-rays. Overbites come from the top (maxillary) teeth protruding outward more than the bottom teeth. Underbites are the exact opposite, they come from the bottom (mandibular) teeth sticking out the mouth more than the top teeth. Overbites and underbites can either be passed on through genetics or caused by losing baby teeth or adult teeth too early. When people suck on their thumbs or leave their children with pacifiers for too long into toddler stage, it can create an overbite or underbite. The best way to view these conditions would be by panoramic projections just because panoramic images do show a full profile of a patient’s skull and dental region. If overbites and underbites are not corrected they can cause issues such as problems with eating, jaw and muscle strain, and even self-esteem problems because of the ugliness appearance. The most effective way to repair this type of deformity would be with braces although there are some more extreme cases that might require jaw re-alignment.
In conclusion, because there are so many different deformities in the dentistry world it is best for dental professionals to understand radiographs and how they work. Some deformities are harmless and need no corrections while other deformities can be more severe, requiring corrective surgery. That is why it is so very important to know how to identify normal anatomy on a dental radiograph. It is also important to know what they are identifying in order to evaluate the conditions at hand and know the best route to take when it comes to repairing and correcting a patient’s smile.
- Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate (for Kids). (2019). Retrieved from https://kidshealth.org/en/kids/cleft-lip-palate.html
- Iannucci, Joen, Laura Howerton. Dental Radiography: Principles and Techniques, 4th Edition. W.B. Saunders Company, 032011. VitalBook file.
- Deformity. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/deformity
- Visser, Savage, Sabol, Drs. (2018, April 12). What Causes an Overbite and Underbite? Retrieved May 15, 2017, from https://www.drssavagesabolvisser.com/causes-overbite-underbite/
- Default - Stanford Children's Health. (n.d.). Retrieved 2019, from https://www.stanfordchildrens.org/en/topic/default?id=overview-of-craniofacial-anomalies-90-P01830
- Crooked Teeth, Overbite, and Underbite Treatments. (n.d.). Retrieved January 29, 2019, from https://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/crooked-teeth-misaligned-bites#1
- Doran, J. G. (n.d.). Retrieved January 29, 2019, from http://www.exodontia.info/Exostoses-Osteomata.html