All about panoramic radiography

Many tests are performed in dental offices in order to make a good diagnosis of the patient’s oral problem. The most common of all – besides visually checking the patient’s mouth first hand – is the so-called orthopantomography or panoramic radiography.

Thanks to this test, the dentist can see in two dimensions the patient’s maxillary bone, jaw and teeth, since this radiological test recreates the bony structures of the patient’s face. Thanks to this test, diagnosis and treatment will be much quicker to perform, as it can determine the state of bone health that is not visible to the naked eye.

What does it allow to diagnose?

Among the most common problems it can diagnose are:


One of the most common oral diseases among the population. The truth is that, in spite of being common, a good diagnosis in time avoids a serious infection and the final extraction of the tooth. Thanks to this X-ray, caries becomes more evident.


In periodontitis or pyorrhea, panoramic radiography is of fundamental importance in the diagnosis. This test makes it possible to visualize one of the most serious consequences of periodontitis: bone loss.

Teeth included

Although it is not so common, it is true that many people reach adulthood with included teeth, that is, with teeth that have not yet erupted from the gum. Orthopantomography helps to find these included teeth that cannot be seen in an ordinary scan and treat the problem.

Panoramic radiography process

Theorthopantomography is performed using an X-ray machine. Very similar to the dental CAT scan of which we spoke on another occasion, the apparatus rotates around the patient’s head to make a comprehensive study.

In this way, it takes a series of two-dimensional images of the mouth and a few seconds later the images are sent directly to the clinic’s computer so that the dentist can study the images.

This test is completely painless and takes only 10 seconds. The patient only has to remain still so that the images come out with the highest possible resolution,


Contraindications of orthopantomography

These devices usually emit minimal radiation. It is a simple test that can be performed on almost anyone at any time. The truth is that there are several particularities to be taken into account.

  • Since it emits some radiation, it should not be performed on pregnant women.
  • Remove any metallic accessories on your face, such as glasses or earrings.
  • It will be necessary to put on a lead apron to protect any part of the rest of the body from radiation.

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