Panoramic Dental X-Rays: Everything You Need to Know

November 28, 2022

Panoramic dental x-rays are an important part of preventive care and early detection of dental issues that are easy to miss, especially in the back of the mouth or on teeth that haven’t erupted yet. In this guide, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about panoramic dental x-rays, including when they’re required, how they work, and how dentists use them to detect any dental problems you may have as soon as possible.

What Is A Panoramic X-Ray?

A panoramic x-ray is a two-dimensional x-ray that captures a picture of a patient’s entire mouth in just one image. It's also called a full mouth or panorex.

Unlike the bitewing dental x-ray which shows a close up of your teeth, a panoramic dental x-ray gives a panoramic view of a patient's head and neck.

These x-rays provide information not only about the health and shape of your teeth and how well they fit together, but they can also show any hidden cavities, bone loss, or other abnormalities that may be occurring in the surrounding tissue and jaw bones, things that would not be visible in a bitewing x-ray.

A panoramic x-ray is an important way for dentists to get a complete view of your oral health.

When Is A Panoramic X-Ray Needed?

A panoramic x-ray is a type of dental x-ray that provides a view of the teeth and their surrounding structures. This is done by taking 2 to 3 images from different angles and creating one complete image, thus giving the dentist more information about what's happening inside your mouth. A panoramic x-ray is needed when you're getting a regular dental x-ray, or if you have any type of dental problem.

In dentistry, panoramic x-rays are highly versatile, and are used for the following purposes:

  • Assess the progression of TMJ
  • Diagnose cysts and irregularities
  • Show impacted teeth
  • Diagnose TMJ
  • Treatment plans including dentures (full and partial), braces, and implants
  • Monitor gum disease and cavities
  • Assess patients who are extremely gag-sensitive

How Often Are Panoramic X-Rays Needed?

The frequency of when you should get a panoramic x-rays will depend on your age, dental history, or whether you have any risk factors for certain diseases.  If you are 40 years old and do not have any risk factors, then it is recommended that you get a panoramic x-ray once every five years. If you are over 40 and are at high risk for developing periodontal disease, it is advised that you get one every year. If you're going in for an annual checkup with your dentist and they suggest that you need a panoramic x-ray, don't be alarmed!

It's just part of their routine exam which can give them important information about how things are going with your oral health.

Are there any risks associated with panoramic x-rays?

Getting a panoramic dental x-ray is a safe and effective way of getting detailed images of your teeth, jaw, and other parts of your mouth. They are an important diagnostic tool and are also valuable for planning future treatment. They are safer than other types of X-ray because less radiation enters the body. In addition, it also reduces the need for you to get multiple single views.

However, as with any type of radiation exposure there are some risks associated with panoramic x-rays so your doctor will weigh the benefits against the risks when considering whether or not you need this type of examination.

What does the procedure involve?

During a panoramic x-ray, the Reveal Diagnostic experienced imaging technician will position your head and chin and stabilize your bite to keep your mouth slightly open. Then, the x-ray machine will rotate in a semicircle around your head, allowing us to get a comprehensive picture of your entire mouth and jaw. A panoramic dental x-ray involves nothing more than sitting still for about 30 seconds while the scanner does its job!

The Safe Beam technology at Reveal Diagnostics adapts the radiation dose to the examined area and combines maximum image quality with the lowest x-ray doses.

Need an appointment for a Panoramic x-ray? Contact us and schedule your visit with one of our 5 convenient locations in the San Francisco area where our experienced team of imaging technicians are  ready to provide you with the best panoramic x ray experience possible!

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