Digital Panoramic X-rays

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:

  • Identify pathology.
  • 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.