Panoramic X-rays

A Panoramic X-ray (also known as Panorex® or orthopantomogram) is a long x-ray that shows the upper and lower jaws ear to ear.  It offers a view that would otherwise be invisible to the naked eye.  X-rays, in general, expose hidden structures, such as wisdom teeth, reveal preliminary signs of cavities, cysts, hard tissue abnormalities and fractures and bone loss.

Panoramic X-rays are extraoral and simple to perform.  Usually, dental X-rays involve the film being placed inside the mouth, but panoramic film is hidden inside a mechanism that rotates around the head.  Panoramic X-rays are taken every three to five years.  Panoramic X-rays are extremely versatile in dentistry, and are used to:

  • Assess patients with an extreme gag reflex.
  • Evaluate the TMJs.
  • Expose cysts and abnormalities.
  • Expose impacted teeth.
  • Expose jawbone fractures.
  • Plan treatment (full and partial dentures, braces and other dental work).
  • Reveal gum disease and cavities.
  • Evaluate if dental implants can be placed

How are panoramic X-rays taken?

The Panoramic X-ray machine consists of a rotating arm that holds the X-ray generator and the film attachment.  The patient's head is positioned between these two devices.  The X-ray generator and film rotates around the head taking the x-ray.  The positioning of the head and body is what determines how sharp, clear and useful the X-rays will be to the Dr. Spring.  Panoramic X-rays are an important diagnostic tool for planning present and future treatment. 

If you have questions or concerns about panoramic X-rays, please ask Dr. Spring or Laura.

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