Panoramic radiography, also called panoramic x-ray, is a two-dimensional (2-D) dental x-ray examination that captures the entire mouth in a single image, including the teeth, upper and lower jaws, surrounding structures and tissues. The jaw is a curved structure similar to that of a horseshoe. However, the panoramic x-ray produces a flat image of the curved structure. It usually provides details of the bones and teeth.
Panoramic dental x-ray uses a very small dose of ionizing radiation to capture the entire mouth in one image. It is commonly performed by dentists and oral surgeons in everyday practice and may be used to plan treatment for 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), sinusitis, and can also determine if a child’s teeth are developing correctly underneath their baby teeth.
A panoramic radiography has a few benefits such as: 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, and panoramic x-rays can be used for very young children since the film does not have to be placed inside the mouth.