Panoramic X-Rays: Their Advantages and Disadvantages

Panoramic X-Rays: Their Advantages and Disadvantages

Sep 06, 2022

You might be familiar with dental x-rays, where your dentist places a piece of plastic inside your mouth and tells you to bite it down and make multiple images that show one or multiple teeth in your mouth. This is just one type of x-ray, there are different types, one being the panoramic dental x-ray.

The panoramic type of x-ray captures your entire mouth in a single image. Read along to understand what panoramic x-rays are, how they are performed, and their pros and cons.

What Are Panoramic X-rays?

Panoramic X-rays, also known as panorex or orthopantomograms, are photographs of your teeth and face. These x-rays offer a view that would otherwise not be visible to the naked eye. For example, X-rays generally expose hidden structures like wisdom teeth or reveal signs of cavities, fractures, and bone loss.

The panoramic x-rays are extraoral and are performed. Usually, a dental x-ray involves the placement of the film inside your mouth. For the panoramic type, the films are hidden inside a mechanism that rotates around the outside of the head.

Unlike the bitewing x-rays that need to be taken every few years, the panoramic x-rays are only taken on an as-needed basis. The panoramic x-ray is not conducted to give a detailed view of your tooth but to better understand your nasal, sinus, and mandibular nerve. Panoramic x-rays are preferable to the bitewing x-rays when the patient is in extreme pain, and your sinuses are suspected of having caused dental problems.

Applications of Panoramic X-rays

Panoramic x-rays are mainly used in our dental clinic in Edmonton to:

  • Assess patients that have an extreme gag reflex
  • Evaluate how a TMJ may have progressed
  • Expose an impacted tooth
  • Expose any jawbone fractures
  • Reveal cavities and gum diseases
  • Plan treatment like braces, dental implants, and full and partial dentures
  • Reveal cysts and abnormalities.

How are Panoramic X-rays Taken?

The panoramic x-rays provide your dentist near you with a near to two-dimensional ear view of your upper and lower jaw. The most common use of panoramic x-rays, as mentioned above, is to reveal the positioning of your wisdom teeth and check whether your dental implants will affect your mandibular nerve.

The panorex equipment consists o a rotating arm that holds the x-ray generator and a moving film that holds the pictures. Your head will be positioned between the two devices. The x-ray generator moves around your head, taking pictures as orthogonally as possible. The positioning of your head and body will determine how clear, sharp and useful the x-rays will be to your dentist. These pictures are magnified as much as 30 percent to ensure that the minutest detail is noted.

The panoramic rays are an important diagnostic tool for future treatment planning. In addition, they are safer than the other types of x-rays because less radiation enters your body.

Panoramic X-rays are an important diagnostic tool used for planning future treatment.  They are safer than other X-rays because less radiation enters the body. The panoramic rays are taken by our family dentist in NW Edmonton.

The Pros and Cons of Panoramic X-rays

Pros of Panoramic X-rays

It is important to know that x-rays are crucial in diagnosing dental problems and that the radiation effect of a dental x-ray should not keep you from seeking dental care. The benefits of panoramic x-rays outweigh their risks. They include:

  • Panoramic x-rays are one of the types of x-rays with the lowest radiation doses performed.
  • Taking panoramic x-rays is simple and thus done quickly
  • There is also greater patient cooperation and acceptance and the overall coverage of dental arches and associated structures.
  • Panoramic x-rays usually have no side effects
  • They can also be used for very young children as the film does not need to be placed in the mouth.

Cons of Panoramic X-rays

The cons of panoramic x-rays include:

  • The images are not as sharp as intraoral radiographs as it made up of many stitched images thud the sharpness and clarity may be reduced
  • Due to the reduced clarity and sharpness, it cannot be used to diagnose carries

However, despite these few drawbacks, there are more benefits of these X-rays than cons.

Visit a Dentist Near You

Are you looking for panoramic x-rays in Edmonton, AB? You can call us or book an appointment with us at Great Smile Family Dental today!

780-444-1444 Request an Appointment