What Exactly is a Panoramic X-Ray?

Your dentist may have recommended that you have a certain type of X-Ray called a Panoramic. You’re probably wondering what exactly this type of X-Ray is and why is it important for you to have one. We’ll explain exactly what it is and why it is imperative to your dental health. In addition we will cover the other X-Ray options available and what they are used for.

What Panoramic X-Rays are Good For

A panoramic X-Ray gives the dentist a “snapshot” or overview of the entire mouth and jaws including: all the teeth, the TMJ and the sinus cavity. Panoramic images are not good for detecting very small cavities, but they are good at finding larger concerns like infections, impacted teeth, tumors, degenerative joint disease and cysts.

Many of you have probably had this done in our office. It is the machine you stand in and the X-Ray rotates around your head.

Panoramic X-Ray
This particular image showed our dentists at Mint Hill Dentistry a number of important things about this particular individual. They have:

  • Six wisdom teeth instead of the normal four (look for the two small teeth on the upper jaw).
  • Five of the six wisdom teeth are fully impacted and do not need to be removed.
  • The sixth wisdom tooth on the lower left (right side of the image) has an infection and needs to be taken out.

The normal recommendation is to have a panoramic taken every five to eight years to evaluate the jaws for any pathology or disease that may not be able to be deleted with any type of dental X-Ray.

Other Types of X-Rays

The other types of X-Rays offered in addition to the Panoramic X-Ray are:

  • Bite-Wing X-Rays – used to check for cavities in between the teeth. It can also be used to screen for periodontal disease by looking for bone loss around teeth.
  • Peri-Apical X-Rays – used to look at the roots of teeth to see if there is any infection around them.
  • CT X-Ray – 3D imaging used for a variety of dental issues like implants, wisdom teeth, root canals, bone grafting, etc.

X-Rays and Radiation

You may be curious about the radiation as well. Dental X-Rays are one of the lowest radiation doses with a routine exam being less than one day of natural background radiation. Actually, it is about the same radiation from a short airplane ride around one to two hours.

Contact Us for More Information

If you have a question about the X-Ray options we are happy to schedule a consultation with one of our doctors. You can learn more about the technology we offer by clicking here.