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Panoramic X-rays: Exploring Their Potential In Disease Diagnosis

Early disease detection is crucial since it helps in designing an accurate treatment plan. Panoramic X-rays are a type of imaging diagnostic tool that helps detect oral diseases at an early stage. 

The team of the Los Gatos dentist specializes in panoramic X-rays to help identify oral health issues with more accuracy. 

A detailed understanding of panoramic X-rays 

A panoramic X-ray, or an OPG (orthopantomogram), is a type of dental imaging procedure that creates a single image of the entire mouth- the upper, and the lower jaws, their temporomandibular joints, teeth, the nasal area, and the sinuses. The image provides a flat representation of your jaws that are curved, making it easier to analyze each part. The image of your whole mouth is captured on a single film, unlike traditional X-rays that can capture only a specific region. 


Panoramic X-rays or an OPG aid in diagnosing and monitoring the following conditions:

  • Gum disease 
  • Hidden tooth caries and cavities
  • Oral abscesses (pus-filled painful boils) and cysts (clear fluid-filled sacs)
  • Dental fractures
  • Dislocated jaws
  • Abnormal tooth development
  • Impacted teeth
  • Wisdom teeth development 
  • Dental implant planning 


Panoramic X-rays offer several benefits in dentistry namely:

  • Broad coverage of facial bones and teeth, including the TMJ
  • Involves low patient radiation dose
  • It is highly convenient when compared to traditional X-rays
  • Helps in patients with restricted mouth opening 
  • Requires a short time to produce the images 
  • Helps in patient education and case presentation

The procedure involved in recording panoramic X-rays

The panoramic X-ray is performed by the same principles that are followed during a traditional X-ray.

  • You will be taken to the radiology room and asked to remove any jewelry or metal accessories.
  • You will be made to stand or sit still in front of the X-ray machine with your chin resting on a small chin rest.
  • A bite blocker will be used to keep your mouth slightly open.
  • The X-ray machine arm will rotate in a semicircle around your head along a specified angle, starting from one side of your jaw, and ending at the other. 

Final takeaway

Panoramic X-ray or an OPG is a vital dental diagnostic tool that has expedited the age-old dental diagnosis process by offering dentists instant access to images. These images offer excellent accuracy and precision with minimal discrepancies. This helps design appropriate treatment plans and execute them immediately, enabling the patient quick relief from oral pathologies. 

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