BACKGROUND: Radiographic examination is considered 'justified' only when detection of a condition that would change the mechanisms and timing of treatment is possible. Radiographic safety guidelines have restricted the indication of lateral cephalometric radiographs (LCRs) to presence of distinct skeletal Class II or Class III. However, they are taken routinely in clinical practice and considered to be part of the 'gold' standard for orthodontic diagnosis. Therefore, the aim of this study was to test the null hypothesis that lateral cephalometric radiograph (LCR) evaluation would not alter the extraction / non-extraction decision in orthodontic treatment planning of skeletal Class I patients.Materials and methods: Intraoral and extraoral photographs, dental casts and extraoral radiographs of 60 skeletal Class I patients were prepared digitally for assessment using a presentation software. One experienced (EO) and inexperienced orthodontist (IO) was asked to decide on extraction or non-extraction on a Likert-type linear scale for treatment planning. This procedure was repeated 4 weeks later with a mixed order of patients and the LCRs being omitted. Kappa, Weighted Kappa (WK) and McNemar scores were computed to test decision consistency and Bland-Altman plots together with 95% limits of agreement were used to determine measurement accuracy and presence of systematic bias. RESULTS: Both EO (WK = 0.67) and IO (WK = 0.64) had good level of decision agreement with and without LCR evaluation. EO did not present a shift towards extraction nor non-extraction with LCR evaluation (McNemar = 0.999) whereas IO showed a tendency to extraction (McNemar = 0.07) with LCR data. Including LCR evaluation created a systematic inconsistency between EO and IO (Line of equality = 0.8, Confidence interval = 0.307-0.707). CONCLUSIONS: Lateral cephalometric radiograph evaluation did not influence the extraction decision in treatment planning of skeletal Class I patients. Reconsidering the necessity of lateral cephalograms in orthodontic treatment of skeletal Class I patients may reduce the amount of ionizing radiation. Key words: Lateral cephalometric radiograph, extraction, treatment planning, skeletal Class I.