There are three types of dental X-rays: Bitewing X-rays, Periapical X-rays, and Panoramic X-rays. Bitewing X-rays are most commonly used during a routine oral check-up. This is useful for revealing cavities that can be hiding between teeth. Periapical X-rays show the entire tooth and include the roots as well as the surrounding bones. Panoramic X-rays give a broad overview of the entire mouth. The panoramic X-ray helps supply information about the teeth as well as the upper and lower jawbone, sinuses, and hard and soft tissues of the head and neck.
The benefit of a Panoramic X-ray is, unlike other X-rays where the film is placed inside the patient’s mouth, panoramic film is contained in a machine that moves around the patients head. Individuals may be familiar with Panoramic X-rays because it is the type of dental x-ray typically used when the wisdom teeth are being evaluated.
Panoramic X-rays reveal deep cavities and gum disease. The panoramic X-ray has many other uses such as evaluating patients with TMJ or jaw problems. It also aids dentists to evaluate the mouth structure of those who require full or partial removable dentures, dental implants, or braces.
Individuals who are at risk or suspected of having oral cancer or other tumors of the jaw, have impacted teeth (especially wisdom teeth) or have had any recent trauma to the face or teeth can have their dentist or oral surgeon use a panoramic X-ray to help determine a diagnosis.
Panoramic X-ray is indispensably important if you want a thorough dental examination. Panoramic X-rays are recommended every 5-7 years, as it can help determine other problems that a normal X-ray cannot see.