A Digital Panoramic Radiograph (also known as a Panorex® or orthopantomogram) is a complete wrap-around view of the face and teeth. They offer a perspective that includes all teeth, jaw joints, and sinus areas that are not available with individual x-rays. In general, they expose hidden structures, such as wisdom teeth, reveal preliminary signs of cavities, can show fractures and bone loss of the jaw, and help differentiate a sinus problem when it is suspected to have caused dental problems.
Panoramic x-rays are taken outside your mouth and simple to perform with reduced radiation. Usually, dental x-rays involve the sensor being placed inside your mouth, but the panoramic sensor is inside a mechanism that rotates around the outside of your head. A panoramic x-ray is not intended to give a detailed view of each individual tooth, but rather to provide an expanded view that includes the sinus areas, nasal areas and mandibular nerve. Panoramic X-rays are much more comfortable than bitewing X-rays especially when a patient is having discomfort inside their mouth.
Panoramic X-rays are extremely versatile in dentistry, and are used to:
Assess patients with an extreme gag reflex.
Evaluate the progression of TMJ.
Expose cysts and abnormalities.
Expose impacted teeth.
Expose jawbone fractures.
Plan treatment (full and partial dentures, braces and implants).
Reveal gum disease and cavities.
How are panoramic x-rays taken?
The panoramic x-ray provides an ear-to-ear two-dimensional view of both the upper and lower jaw. The most common uses for panoramic x-rays are to reveal the positioning of wisdom teeth and to check positioning of dental implants that may affect the mandibular nerve.
The Panorex equipment is a large and expensive machine that consists of a rotating arm that holds the x-ray generator, and a moving sensor attachment that captures the picture as it moves around your head. The positioning of the head and body is what determines how sharp, clear and useful the X-rays will be to the dentist. The pictures can be magnified multiple times to ensure that even the minutest detail will be noted.
Panoramic x-rays are an important diagnostic tool and are valuable for planning dental treatment. They are safer than other types of x-ray because less radiation enters the body.
If you have questions or concerns about our panoramic, please ask us.