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 taken with a digital sensor instead of film. Because no development is needed, digital X-rays can be seen immediately, enhanced, 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.
My family and I have been going to Kalil and Kress for over 18 years. We have had the privilege of growing up with the best dentists in town. Kalil and Kress is top of the line dentistry. They have a very clean office and amazing staff. They always make me feel extremely comfortable and relaxed no matter what the procedure. I would recommend them to anyone looking for an amazing dentist experience.” -Keshia
Panoramic X-Ray Process
Panoramic dental X-rays are extraoral, the imaging machine and the films are outside of your mouth. Unlike traditional X-rays that taken with films inside of your mouth and leading to intense discomfort. This type of machine projects a beam through your mouth to get the image. With one horizontal arm that can be directed towards a side of your face, the other arm contains the X-ray film. Your face with be positioned on a head rest with a bite-blocker to keep your mouth open for imaging. Then the machine will move around the outside of your mouth, face and neck.
Panoramic X-Ray Results
Panoramic X-rays do not reveal cavities like periapical X-rays. 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. They can, however, help to identify the following conditions:
- Impacted teeth
- Bone abnormalities
- Solid growths (tumors)
How Often Should I Get a Digital X-Ray?
Dentists recommend panoramic X-rays every 2-5 years to check the teeth and mouth for problems. As we age, our health is always able to change, meaning you must monitor and maintain your oral health. If you have concerns about radiation, digital panoramic X-rays are an excellent alternative.
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