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Panoramic Images

Panoramic Images at San Jose Pediatric Dentistry

Panoramic Images are wraparound photographs of the face and teeth.  They offer a view that would otherwise be invisible to the naked eye.  This view, in general, expose hidden structures, such as wisdom teeth, reveal preliminary signs of cavities, and also show fractures and bone loss.

Panoramic images, and all images, are extraoral and simple to perform.  Usually, dental X-rays involve the film being placed inside the mouth, but our panoramic and bitewing image sensors are hidden inside a mechanism that rotates around the outside of the mouth.

A panoramic image is just not taken to give a detailed view of each tooth, but also to provide a better view of the sinus areas, nasal areas, and mandibular nerve.  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 images are extremely versatile in dentistry, and are 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 (for interceptive orthodontics).
  • Reveal gum disease and cavities.

How are panoramic images taken?

The panoramic image provides your child's pediatric dentist with an ear-to-ear two-dimensional view of both the upper and lower jaw. A common use for panoramic images are to reveal the positioning of wisdom teeth and to look for extra or missing teeth.

The Panoramic equipment consists of a rotating arm that holds the image generator, and a moving sensor attachment that holds the images.  The head is positioned between these two devices.  The image generator moves around the head taking pictures as orthogonally as possible.  The positioning of the head and body is what determines how sharp, clear and useful the images will be to the dentist.  The pictures are magnified by as much as 30% to ensure that even the minutest detail will be noted.

Panoramic images are an important diagnostic tool and are also valuable for planning future treatment.  They are safer than other types of X-rays because much less radiation enters the body.

If you have questions or concerns about panoramic images, please contact our practice.