X-rays in general can identify hidden structures such as wisdom teeth, reveal signs of cavities, show jaw fractures and bone loss. The Digital Panoramic X-ray (also known as Panorex® or orthopantomograms) moves around a patient's head providing the dentist with an ear-to-ear two-dimensional view of both the upper and lower jaw. Usually dental X-rays involve the film being placed inside the mouth, but a digital panoramic x-ray rotates around the outside of a patient's head.Digital panoramic x-rays are extra-oral and simple to perform.
Unlike bitewing X-rays that need to be taken every 6 months, digital panoramic X-rays are generally taken on an as-needed basis. A digital panoramic x-ray is not conducted to give a detailed view of each tooth, but rather to provide an overview of the maxilla, sinus & nasal areas, jaw bone and mandibular nerve. Panoramic X-rays maybe preferable to bitewing or periapical X-rays when a patient is in extreme pain and has difficulty opening.
The most common uses for digital panoramic X-rays are to reveal the position and orientation of wisdom teeth and to check whether dental implants will affect any vital structures.
Digital Panoramic X-rays are extremely versatile in dentistry, and are used to:
evaluate impacted teeth.
Verify jawbone fractures.
Plan treatment (full and partial dentures, braces and implants).
Reveal gum disease.
Evaluate the progression of TMJ.
Assess patients with an extreme gag reflex.
Panoramic X-rays are an important diagnostic tool and are valuable for planning future treatment.
If you have questions or concerns about digital panoramic X-rays, please ask your dentist.