An orthopantomogram gives a panoramic picture of the whole lower part of your face. This X-ray scan is often carried out before orthodontic treatment and dental implants, or when wisdom teeth need to be removed.
What is an orthopantomogram?
An orthopantomogram is a type of X-ray. Through short blasts of radiation, a scanner builds a detailed, panoramic view of the entire mouth and jaw.
Why do you need an orthopantomogram?
With orthopantomography, the dentist is able to see the exact position of all of your teeth, including any that remain beneath the gums. An orthopantomogram also enables the dentist to get a full picture of your overall dental health and can reveal hidden issues, such as gum disease, bone infections, fractures, cysts and impacted wisdom teeth. We may decide to do this type of scan at the beginning of a treatment plan, particularly for wisdom teeth removal, dental implants or teeth straightening.
What is the process?
To get a scan of your mouth, you will be asked to stand in front of a specialised orthopantomogram X-ray machine. The radiographer or dentist will then ask you to bite onto a peg and position clamps above and below your face. There is no need to worry; the clamps only exert a light pressure to keep your head in position. The dentist will then ask you to hold onto two handles to prevent you from moving once the machine is in motion.
While the machine rotates around your head, it is important to keep as still as possible to get the best image quality. You may also be asked to tip your head back to get a different view.
The X-ray usually takes around 15-20 minutes.
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