Orthopantomograms, Panorex or panoramic x-rays are wraparound photos of your teeth and face. They provide information that is otherwise unavailable without some kind of instrument, including exposing hidden structures like wisdom teeth and the early signs of cavities. Bone loss and fractures also show up.
Panoramic x-rays are easy to perform without putting film in your mouth. The film is concealed inside a machine that rotates around the head. While bitewing x-rays are often taken every year years, panoramic x-rays are usually only done when needed. The purpose is not to give a detailed look at each tooth but to provide a good view of sinuses, the nose and the mandibular nerve. In addition, panoramic x-rays are better than bitewings when a patient is in great pain or when a sinus problem is believed to be related to the dental problems.
These versatile x-rays are also used for:
- Diagnosing the reason for an overactive gag reflex
- Checking the progression of TMJ
- Finding abnormalities like cysts
- Looking for impacted teeth
- Finding jawbone fractures
- Planning for dentures, braces and implants
- Seeing cavities and gum disease
How are panoramic x-rays done?
Panoramic x-rays are used to provide a side-to-side view of the lower and upper jaw in two dimensions. They are used to show a variety of things, including the position of wisdom teeth, how dental implants will impact the mandibular nerve and more.
Panorex equipment involves a rotating arm that supports the x-ray generator and a moving film attachment that captures the pictures. Your head is carefully placed between the two devices. The generator moves around the head capturing images. Proper head and body positioning is essential to getting clear and sharp pictures with maximum benefit to the dentist. Pictures are magnified by up to 30 percent to make sure that even the smallest details show up well.
Panoramic x-rays are a crucial diagnostic tool and can be very valuable in planning future treatment. They are also safer than some other x-ray types because they involve less radiation.
If you would like a Panoramic X-ray, call (619) 640-5100 for an appointment with Dr. Paige Woods, DDS