Panoramic X-Rays & Other Types of Radiographs
Panoramic x-rays are used to give the dentist a broad view of a patient’s entire mouth and surrounding areas. It very accurately shows the teeth, teeth roots, gums, jawbone, sinuses and other tissues in the neck and head. Dentists also enjoy the panoramic x-ray procedure as there is no need to place film in the patient’s mouth. The unit moves circularly around the patient’s head capturing sub-dermal images as it goes.
Panoramic radiography, also called panoramic x-ray, is a two-dimensional (2-D) dental x-ray examination that captures the entire mouth in a single image, including the teeth, upper and lower jaws, surrounding structures and tissues.
An x-ray (radiograph) is a noninvasive medical test that helps physicians diagnose and treat medical conditions. Imaging with x-rays involves exposing a part of the body to a small dose of ionizing radiation to produce pictures of the inside of the body. X-rays are the oldest and most frequently used form of medical imaging.
Its film is self-contained, making the process simple, quick, painless and very safe.
Common uses for panoramic x-rays:
Evaluation of wisdom teeth;
Evaluation of TMJ and other issues with the jaw joint;
Evaluation of patients considering removable partial dentures (RPD’s);
Evaluation of patients considering dental implants and/or braces;
Locating the presence of jaw tumors and/or other signs of developing oral cancer;
Evaluation of impacted teeth, especially impacted wisdom teeth;
Identification of calcification on the carotid artery (early symptom for stroke);
Used for patients who cannot stand to have the film in their mouths;
A comprehensive dental exam should always include a panoramic x-ray. It’s a powerful tool for determining the precise condition of the entire mouth. Many dentists recommend that their patients receive a panoramic x-ray about once every 6 years. While it’s true that this type of x-ray does not show quite as much about the teeth and gums as some other types of x-rays, it’s main attractiveness comes from the fact that it presents so much information about various other hard and soft tissues in and around the mouth. Panoramic x-rays are one of the strongest tools a dentist has for evaluating hid or her patients.
How should I prepare?
A panoramic x-ray examination requires no special preparation. You may be asked to wear a lead apron as a safety precaution to protect the rest of your body from any radiation exposure that may scatter from the panoramic x-ray beam. You may also be asked to remove your jewelry from the region being imaged, eye glasses and any metal objects that might interfere with the x-ray images.
Women should always inform their dentist or oral surgeon if there is any possibility that they are pregnant. Many imaging tests are not performed during pregnancy so as not to expose the fetus to radiation. If an x-ray is necessary, precautions will be taken to minimize radiation exposure to the baby.