X-rays in general, expose hidden structures, such as wisdom teeth, reveal preliminary signs of cavities, and also show fractures and bone loss.
Panoramic x-rays are extra-oral and simple to perform. Usually, dental x-rays involve the film being placed inside the mouth, but panoramic film is hidden inside a mechanism that rotates around the outside of the head.
Panoramic x-rays are generally taken for a baseline around the time the permanent teeth start to erupt. Panoramic x-rays are extremely versatile in dentistry, and are used to:
- check for the presence of permanent teeth
- Check for impacted teeth, cysts and abnormal conditions
- Evaluate jawbone fractures
How are panoramic x-rays taken? The panoramic x-rays provides the dentist with an ear-to-ear two-dimensional view of both the upper and lower jaw.
The panoramic machine unit consists of a robotic arm that hols the x-ray generator, and a moving film attachment that holds the pictures. The head is positioned between these two devices. The x-ray generator moves around the head taking pictures as orthogonally as possible. The positioning of the head and body is what determines how sharp, clear and useful the x-rays will be to the dentist. The pictures are magnified by as much as 30% to ensure that even the minutest detail will be noted.
Panoramic x-rays are an important diagnostic tool and are also valuable for planning future treatment.