Panoramic Dental X-rays: What They are, How They Work and Their Benefits

Panoramic dental X-rays, also known as “panos” are a type of x-ray that provides our Arvada dentist a broad view of the entire mouth, including the teeth, jaws, and surrounding anatomical structures. They are typically used to diagnose problems with the teeth, such as impacted teeth or developing third molars, assess the TMJ, or check for cysts and tumors. Panos differ from other types of X-rays we take at Arvada Dental Center, and they play a special role when it comes to treating certain types of patients and ages of patients.

What Is A Panoramic Dental X-Ray?

A panoramic dental x-ray is a specialized x-ray that provides a broad view of the entire mouth and adjacent anatomy, including your jaws, sinuses, and sometimes even your airway. It is taken using a specialized panoramic x-ray machine, which consists of a machine that rotates around your head and takes a series of images as it moves. The images are then pieced together to create a panoramic view of the mouth.

In some cases, more modern panoramic X-ray machines are able to capture CBCT or CT scans, providing 3D imaging of your overall smile.

Unlike traditional dental X-rays, which only provide a view of a small area of the mouth, panoramic X-rays provide a comprehensive view of your entire smile. They are particularly useful for examining your bone health, planning for dental implant treatment, or performing an orthodontic or wisdom tooth evaluation.

How Is It Different From Other Types Of X-rays?

Each type of x-ray has its own unique benefits and uses.

Traditional dental X-rays, also known as intraoral X-rays, are the most X-rays we take at our Arvada dentist office. They are taken by placing a small sensor or film inside your mouth. These X-rays provide a detailed view of specific teeth or a small group of teeth. They are typically used to diagnose problems with the teeth, such as cavities, periodontal disease, and abscesses. These smaller X-rays provide high-resolution imaging around the immediate teeth, which is essential for comprehensive treatment planning or establishing a baseline measurement.

Intraoral X-rays are generally more detailed and provide higher-resolution images than panoramic X-rays. However, they only provide a view of a small area of the mouth, whereas panoramic X-rays provide a comprehensive view of the entire mouth.

Panoramic X-rays are usually only taken once every 3-5 years or if there’s a specific concern, such as impacted wisdom teeth or an impeding dental implant surgery. Whereas smaller bitewing X-rays are taken about once a year to screen for cavities between teeth.

Myths & Misconceptions About Panoramic Dental X-rays

There are several myths and misconceptions about panoramic dental X-rays that may cause some people to avoid having them taken altogether. One common myth is that panoramic X-rays are more dangerous than traditional dental X-rays. However, this is not true. Both types of X-rays are considered safe and are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). At Arvada Dental Center, we utilize radiation-safe practices that minimize patient exposure. Such as digital technology that reduces radiation levels by as much as 90%, compared to traditional X-rays.

Another myth is that panoramic X-rays are not as accurate as traditional dental X-rays. While it is true that panoramic X-rays do not provide the same level of detail as traditional dental X-rays, they are still a valuable diagnostic tool and can provide important information about the teeth, jaws, and surrounding structures (anatomy that is not visible on smaller dental X-rays.)

Advantages & Disadvantages of Panoramic Dental X-rays

There are several advantages to using panoramic dental X-rays. One of the main benefits is that they provide a complete view of your entire mouth, which allows our dentist in Arvada to see a wide area all at once, providing you with a comprehensive evaluation of your oral health.

If you haven’t had dental X-rays in years or have questions about the digital X-ray process, call Arvada Dental Center today. Our digital imaging allows for early intervention, minimally invasive treatments, and more affordable dental care!


More Posts

Judgment-Free, High-Quality Dentistry is Possible

Experience it for yourself!