The panoramic X-ray provides the dentist with an ear-to-ear two-dimensional view of both the upper and lower jaw. It is not conducted to give a detailed view of each tooth, but rather to provide a better view of the sinus areas, nasal areas and mandibular nerve. The most common uses for panoramic X-rays are to reveal the positioning of wisdom teeth and to check whether dental implants will affect the mandibular nerve (the nerve extending toward the lower lip).
Panoramic X-rays are preferable to bitewing X-rays when a patient is in extreme pain, and when a sinus problem is suspected to have caused dental problems.
Panoramic X-rays are extremely versatile in dentistry, and can also be used to:
- Assess patients with an extreme gag reflex.
- Evaluate the progression of TMJ.
- Expose cysts and abnormalities.
- Expose impacted teeth.
- Expose jawbone fractures.
- Plan treatment (full and partial dentures, braces and implants).