There are many different types of dental X-rays that are available for your dentist to use to help assess your oral health. Each type provides a part of the big picture. When combined, your dentist gets a complete understanding of the conditions of your mouth, teeth, and soft tissue areas. Panoramic X-rays may not be part of your regular full-mouth series but can be useful in identifying problems that regular periapical X-rays cannot.
What is a Panoramic X-Ray?
A digital panoramic X-ray is one that is taken with a digital sensor instead of film. Because no development is needed, digital X-rays can be seen immediately, enhanced and enlarged many times and adjusted for brightness and contrast. Digital panoramic X-rays make it easier for you and your dentist to identify any problems that you may have.
Panoramic X-rays, like other dental X-rays, are pictures of the teeth, bones and soft tissues of the mouth. They help your dentist evaluate the overall health of your mouth and teeth. Unlike close-up X-rays such as bitewing or periapical, panoramic X-rays show a much broader view of the jaws, teeth, sinuses, nasal area and temporomandibular jaw (TMJ) joints.
Panoramic X-Ray Process
Unlike bitewing or periapical X-rays, the film is not placed inside your mouth. Instead, the film is contained in a machine that moves around the outside of your mouth, face and neck.
Panoramic X-Ray Results
Panoramic X-rays do not reveal cavities like periapical X-rays. They can, however, help to identify the following conditions:
- Impacted teeth
- Bone abnormalities
- Solid growths (tumors)
While routine X-rays are able to identify most oral health issues, there are some conditions that panoramic X-rays alone can reveal. According to a study by the University of Buffalo, panoramic X-rays are most helpful in locating lesions in the sinus cavities of the cheeks, the soft tissue of the neck and the upper portion of the jawbone.
How Often Should I Get a Digital Panoramic X-Ray?
Dentists recommend panoramic x-rays every 2-5 years to check the teeth and mouth for problems. If you have concerns about radiation, digital panoramic X-rays are an excellent alternative.
Schedule A Consultation
If you would like to learn more about Panoramic Dental X-Rays and would like to see if you are a good candidate, please call our Nashua NH office at (603) 880-7004