Panoramic Dental X-ray

A very small dose of ionizing radiation is used in a panoramic dental x-ray to capture the entire mouth in one image. In everyday practice, it is commonly performed by dentists and oral surgeons and can be used to plan treatment for dentures, braces, extractions and implants.

This exam requires little to no special preparation. If there is a chance that you are pregnant, tell your doctor. Remove any jewelry, eyeglasses or metal artifacts that could interact with the x-ray images. To protect the remainder of the body from any radiation contamination, you will be required to wear a lead apron.

What is Panoramic X-ray?

Panoramic radiography, also called panoramic x-ray, is a two-dimensional (2-D) dental x-ray analysis that captures the entire mouth in a single image, including the teeth, upper and lower jaws, underlying structures and tissues.

The jaw is a curved structure similar to that of a horseshoe. A flat image of the curved structure is created by the panoramic x-ray, though. It usually provides details of the bones and teeth.

A non-invasive diagnostic examination that helps doctors identify and treat medical problems is an x-ray (radiograph). X-ray imaging involves exposing a portion of the body to a small dose of ionizing radiation in order to generate photographs of the inside of the body. The oldest and most commonly used method of medical imaging is X-rays.

The film for a panoramic x-ray is stored within the unit, unlike a standard intraoral x-ray where the film/x-ray detector is located inside the mouth.

What are some common uses of the procedure?

A panoramic x-ray is a widely performed test in daily practice by dentists and oral surgeons and is an effective diagnostic method. It covers a broader area than a traditional intraoral x-ray, providing useful information on the maxillary sinuses, tooth positioning and other anomalies of the bone as a result. This examination is also used to plan treatment for full and partial dentures, braces, extractions and implants.

A panoramic x-ray can also reveal dental and medical problems such as:

advanced periodontal disease

cysts in the jaw bones

jaw tumors and oral cancer

impacted teeth including wisdom teeth

jaw disorders (also known as temporomandibular joint or TMJ disorders)

How should I prepare?

A panoramic x-ray examination requires no special preparation.

As a safety measure, you might be asked to wear a lead apron to shield the rest of your body from any exposure to radiation that may scatter from the panoramic x-ray beam. You might also be required to remove your jewelry, eyeglasses and other metal artifacts that may interact with the x-ray images from the area being imaged.

If there is any risk that they are pregnant, women should always tell their dentist or oral surgeon. During pregnancy, several imaging scans are not administered in order not to expose the fetus to radiation. Precautions will be taken to minimize radiation exposure to the baby if an x-ray is necessary.

What does the equipment look like?

The patient’s jaw is first placed in the x-ray room and placed on the head of the x-ray machine. A thin apparatus consisting of two parts surrounds the head part. After all adjustments and adjustments are made, the device that rotates around the head transmits the images it receives to the computer. Thus, the imaging process is made. Radiation values are minimized with advanced technology. Panoramic x-rays provide the best and healthiest results.

What will I experience during and after the procedure?

A panoramic x-ray exam is painless, fast and easy to perform. It may be recommended over intraoral x-rays for patients that have a sensitive gag reflex.

What are the benefits vs. risks?


-No radiation remains in a patient’s body after an x-ray examination. 

-X-rays usually have no side effects in the typical diagnostic range for this exam.

-Panoramic x-rays can be used for very young children since the film does not have to be placed inside the mouth.


-Women should always inform their dentist or oral surgeon if there is any possibility that they are pregnant.

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