An OPG is a panoramic or wide view x-ray of the lower face, which displays all the teeth of the upper and lower jaw on a single film. It demonstrates the number, position and growth of all the teeth including those that have not yet surfaced or erupted. It is different from the small close up x-rays dentists take of individual teeth. An OPG may also reveal problems with the jawbone and the joint which connects the jawbone to the head, called the Temporomandibular joint or TMJ. An OPG may be requested for the planning of orthodontic treatment, for assessment of wisdom teeth or for a general overview of the teeth and the bone which supports the teeth.
A panoramic x-ray is a commonly performed examination by dentists and oral surgeons in everyday practice and is an important diagnostic tool. It covers a wider area than a conventional intraoral x-ray and, as a result, provides valuable information about the maxillary sinuses, tooth positioning and other bone abnormalities. This examination is also used to plan treatment for full and partial dentures, braces, extractions and implants.
A panoramic x-ray can also reveal dental and medical problems such as:
How is it done?
You may be asked to remove jewellery, eyeglasses, and any metal objects that may obscure the images. You will be asked to stand with your face resting on a small shelf and to bite gently on a sterile mouth piece to steady your head. It is important to stay very still while the x-ray is taken. You will not feel any discomfort during the procedure.
Women should always inform their dentist or oral surgeon if there is any possibility that they are pregnant. Many imaging tests are not performed during pregnancy so as not to expose the fetus to radiation. If an x-ray is necessary, precautions will be taken to minimize radiation exposure to the baby.
What does the bone structure look like? How great is the distance to the nerve canal? In all dental disciplines, there are numerous questions that can be answered far more easily using 3D x-rays.
The cephalometric X-ray is a unique tool, which enables the orthodontist to capture a complete radiographic image of the side of the face.
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