A panoramic radiograph (also termed panorexTM, dental panoramic radiograph, orthopantomogram or orthopantomograph TM, and sometimes abbreviated as PAN, DPR, OPT or OPG), is a panoramic scanning dental X-ray of the upper and lower jaw. It shows a two-dimensional view of a half-circle from ear to ear. An OPG relies on tomography i.e. images of specific radiographic planes are taken to make up the larger panoramic image where the maxilla and mandible are in the focal trough and the structures, superficial and deep to the trough, are blurred.
Dental X-rays' radiology is moving from film technology (involving a chemical developing process) to digital X-ray technology, which is based on electronic sensors and computers. One of the principal advantages compared to film based systems is the much greater exposure latitude. This means many fewer repeated scans, which reduces costs and also reduces patient exposure to radiation. Lost X-rays can also be reprinted if the digital file is saved. Other significant advantages include instantly viewable images, the ability to enhance images, the ability to email images to practitioners and clients (without needing to digitize them first), easy and reliable document handling, reduced X-ray exposure, that no darkroom is required, and that no chemicals are used.
Also sometimes the term "digital X-rays" is used to designate the scanned film documents which further are handled by computers.
In current state-of-the-art digital systems, the image quality is vastly superior to conventional film-based systems. Technology to standard digital panoramic devices.
OPTs are used by health care professionals to provide information on : -
Impacted wisdom teeth diagnosis and treatment planning - the most common use is to determine the status of wisdom teeth and trauma to the jaws.
Periodontal bone loss and periapical involvement.
Finding the source of dental pain
Assessment for the placement of dental implants
Orthodontic assessment. pre and post operative
Caries detection especially in the inter-dental region
Diagnosis of developmental anomalies such as cherubism, cleido cranial dysplasia
Carcinoma in relation to the jaws
Temporomandibular joint dysfunctions and ankylosis
Diagnosis of osteosarcoma, ameloblastoma, renal osteodystrophy affecting jaws and hypophosphatemia.
Diagnosis, and pre- and post-surgical assessment of oral and maxillofacial trauma, e.g. dentoalveolar fractures and mandibular fractures
Salivary stones (Sialolithiasis).
Principal advantage of panoramic images
Broad coverage of facial bones and teeth
Low patient radiation dose
Convenience of examination for the patient (films need not be placed inside the mouth)
Ability to be used in patients who cannot open the mouth or when the opening is restricted e.g.: due to trismus
Short time required for making the image
Patient's ready understandability of panaromic films, making them a useful visual aid in patient education and case presentation.
Easy to store compared to the large set of intra oral x-rays which are typically used