What is Panoramic X-ray?
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.
The jaw is a curved structure similar to that of a horseshoe. However, the panoramic x-ray produces a flat image of the curved structure. It usually provides details of the bones and teeth.
What are some common uses of the procedure?
A panoramic x-ray is a commonly performed examination by dentists and oral surgeons in everyday practice and is an important diagnostic tool. It covers a wider area than a conventional intraoral x-ray and, as a result, provides valuable information about the maxillary sinuses, tooth positioning and other bone abnormalities. This examination is also used to plan treatment for full and partial dentures, braces, extractions and implants.
A panoramic x-ray can also reveal dental and medical problems such as:
- advanced periodontal disease
- cysts in the jaw bones
- jaw tumors and oral cancer
- impacted teeth including wisdom teeth
- jaw disorders (also known as temporomandibular joint or TMJ disorders)
What are the benefits vs. risks?
No radiation remains in a patient’s body after an x-ray examination.
X-rays usually have no side effects in the typical diagnostic range for this exam.
Panoramic x-rays can be used for very young children since the film does not have to be placed inside the mouth.
Women should always inform their dentist or oral surgeon if there is any possibility that they are pregnant.