During the first visits to the dentist, the dentist will recommend medical exams to visualize the general health of the patient; one of these tests is an orthopantomography or better known as panoramic radiography. This type of dental x-ray shows the area of the jaws, mandible, and teeth. This allows the specialist to analyze the health of the oral cavity and determine if there are problems that may affect the area. Studies of this type are ideal for the collection of data that, manually, are difficult to observe; the information obtained determines the number of cavities, periodontal diseases, or some problems with the jaws and jaw.
It is necessary to make it clear that the process and image are not the same as the conventional x-ray. Panoramic x-rays cover more areas than traditional x-rays, which include a single shot of the entire oral cavity. Although they are really several photographs that merge into one to create a two-dimensional photo. Although the jaw is a curved structure, this device can reproduce the flat image as the machine rotates around the patient’s head. To perform this study, the person must place their head inside the device and bite a piece of plastic, while a part of the machine rotates around the person, spanning from one point of the jaw to the other. It is a painless procedure that only lasts a few seconds. This procedure is ideal for a root canal in Tijuana, and more if performed in a specialized center.
By using a small dose of ionizing radiation to capture the image, no radiation dose remains in the body. Because it is a quick and painless procedure, there are no secondary symptoms in the patient that could harm their health so that this study can be used in children. Because the appliance is rotary, broad coverage of the structure of the jaws, joints, and teeth can be obtained, thus allowing the dentist to analyze if the patient has any affections or alterations in the mouth.
Although imaging is quick, some patients may feel uncomfortable because they need to lie still while part of the device rotates around. Although it is a widely used study, it does not really provide such detailed information about the teeth or any other structure of the cavity. The use of panoramic x-rays are usually used as an initial evaluation, and later, if necessary, the dentist will recommend additional tests.
Currently, there are already technological innovations that allow x-rays without the need for plates, i.e., the image is sent directly to the computer, which facilitates and improves the quality of photography. This technique also allows a more significant manipulation, allowing to enlarge or diminish the image to have a better perspective and to detect if there are problems. Although it is an innovative method, many dentists still use traditional x-rays for the initial evaluation of the patient. But, in short, panoramic x-rays are an excellent option to improve treatments due to all the details provided by the image. Although it may be a little expensive, it is highly recommended.