The panoramic x-ray is a type of x-ray that shows the whole mouth including both jaws, teeth, sinuses, temporomandibular joints, nasal area. This is a very good diagnostic method, since it shows the whole mouth in a single x-ray. It can be used to diagnose impacted teeth, cysts, tumors and more.
The panoramic X-rays are one of the most commonly used diagnostic methods in dentistry. They are helpful in a number of cases. Usually, the dentist does an X-ray the first time the patient visits so that he can have a general insight of the oral condition. As mentioned it provides a picture of the two jaws, teeth, surrounding structures. This makes it much easier for the dentist, instead of getting small X-rays that only show parts of the oral cavity. The panoramic X-rays are called extraoral because the machine and the film are outside of the mouth while taking the image.
These X-rays are used for both preventive and diagnostic purposes. The main use is the detection of caries, periodontal disease, and conditions that affect the roots of a tooth. They also find purpose in determining the number of roots of a tooth before performing a root canal, the number of canals in a root and more. When the dental pulp is affected by bacteria, that can lead to a dental abscess. Sometimes the symptoms won’t be present so the only way that a dentist can determine that is with an X-ray. Periapical x-rays are the ones that are usually done, but the panoramic type reveals the condition of all teeth so it is also an option. Other uses include looking at the position of third molars, the presence of dental cysts, the position od of the maxillary sinus, bone abnormalities, fractures, and a number of other conditions.
It is true that the small X-rays give a more detailed picture of specific teeth. For example, it is much easier to study the depth of caries on a small, periapical image. But it is also possible to diagnose it on a panoramic one. If the dentist needs further details, he can always order an additional periapical X-ray. The panoramic images are a great way to explore the condition of the mouth when the dentist is planning an orthodontic treatment. He can study the position of teeth, whether there are some teeth that haven’t erupted yet, impacted ones, and more. It is also a diagnostic method before the planning of implants, fixed restorations, and dentures.
The procedure is very simple and it only takes several minutes. There is no pain or discomfort. All the patient has to do is place his head on the machine, with the help of the technician and follow the instructions. The technician will properly position your head. Pregnant women should let their dentist know beforehand, because of the radiation of the procedure. When they are taking an X-ray, you shouldn’t have any jewelry on you. So beforehand you should take off all metal objects that are on you.