Dental Tips Blog


Why Do I Need to Get a Panoramic Dental X-Ray?

Posted in Digital X-Rays

You’re used to getting x-rays at least once a year along with a typical dental cleaning. But then one day, almost out of the blue, your dentist tells you that you need a panoramic x-ray.

How is that different?

Panoramic x-rays (often called “panos” or “pans,” for short) take a large image that captures bones from ear-to-ear and from nose to throat. Exactly what ends up in your pan may depend on your unique anatomy.

A Wider Viewpoint

A panoramic captures things that can’t be seen in other digital dental x-rays. This is because a classic x-ray beam is aimed directly at teeth in one direction. The result is a flat two-dimensional picture with distinct contrast.

Regular x-rays are ideal for spotting stuff going on around individual teeth like decay, bone loss, and abscesses. But a pano comes in handy when there’s suspicious activity in your jaw, neck, or sinuses. These areas don’t show up on your routine dental x-rays.

Your dentist may require patients to have a routine panoramic x-ray taken every several years simply to check for abnormalities, even if you don’t feel like anything’s wrong.

Other reasons for taking a pano include:

  • Monitor tooth development in children
  • Check for the presence of wisdom teeth
  • Planning treatment such as implant placement
  • Verifying the location of major nerves and other oral structures
  • Evaluating jaw problems

Aside from detecting a serious disease, a panoramic x-ray could be crucial to making your next dental treatment a success.

Posted on behalf of:
Gordon Dental of Leawood
11401 Nall Ave #102
Leawood, KS 66211
(913) 649-5017

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