Panoramic X-rays (also commonly known as orthopantomograms or Panorex® ) refer to wraparound images of the teeth and face. They allow us to get a view that would have been impossible for the naked eye to see. Generally, X-rays reveal hidden structures, such as early signs of cavities, wisdom teeth, and also reveal bone loss and fractures.
Panoramic X-rays are generally extraoral and can be carried out easily. Usually, when it comes to dental X-rays the film is placed in the mouth, but the panoramic film is placed inside a mechanism, and this mechanism rotates around the head.
You only need to take panoramic X-rays when needed, unlike bitewing X-rays that must be done every few years. However, a panoramic X-ray does not provide a comprehensive view of the teeth, but rather allows the mandibular nerve, nasal areas, and sinus areas to be viewed. When a patient is experiencing extreme pain, or when it is suspected that a sinus problem has resulted in dental problems, Panoramic X-rays are often preferred to bitewing X-rays.
Panoramic X-rays have lots of versatility in dentistry, and are useful in:
- Assessing patients who have an extreme gag reflex
- Evaluating TMJ progression
- Revealing abnormalities and cysts
- Exposing impacted teeth
- Exposing jawbone fractures
- Planning treatment (partial and full dentures, implants and braces)
- Revealing cavities and gum disease
How are panoramic X-rays taken?
The panoramic X-ray allows the dentist to have a two-dimensional view of both the lower and the upper jaw. Panoramic X-rays are mostly used to show how wisdom teeth are positioned and to check whether the mandibular nerve would be affected by dental implants.
The Panorex equipment features a revolving arm that supports the X-ray generator, as well as a moving film that is responsible for holding the pictures. With the head positioned between these devices, The X-ray generator moves around the head and takes pictures. The sharpness and usefulness of the X-ray will be determined by the position of the body and head. The pictures can be magnified by up to 30% to give attention to detail.
Panoramic X-rays are useful for diagnosis, as well as planning further treatment. They are also safer than other types of x-rays due to the release of less radiation to the body.
Please get in touch with us if you have questions about panoramic X-rays