Panoramic X-rays are an invaluable tool for dentists, allowing them to get a comprehensive view of the head, neck, and jaw. This type of X-ray can help identify cysts, tumors, jaw abnormalities, and cancer. It also allows dentists to see the entire denture and jaw, including the temporomandibular joint. In addition, some parts of the sinuses are also visible on a panoramic X-ray.
The most obvious benefit of a panoramic X-ray is that it allows dentists to monitor the progress of permanent teeth and wisdom teeth as they form. However, it also provides an opportunity to detect tumors at an early stage, which can be crucial in diagnosing bone cancer. Panoramic X-rays are also useful for evaluating the degree of bone loss due to periodontal disease and planning implant or tooth extraction surgeries. They can also be used to diagnose temporomandibular joint disorders, evaluate orthodontic treatment, and detect cavities in the front teeth that may not be visible on bite X-rays.
Panoramic X-rays are safer than other types of X-rays because they require less radiation exposure. They can also be completed in one session, as opposed to a series of up to four X-ray exposures that may be uncomfortable for patients. Furthermore, panoramic X-rays are only taken when needed, unlike bite X-rays which must be taken every few years. Studies have shown that panoramic radiography is more effective than oral exams in detecting occlusal dental caries and proximal dental caries.
The prevalence rates of occlusal dental caries and proximal dental caries were 14.5% and 11.1% in oral exams, while the corresponding rates in panoramic radiography were 7.4% and 8.9%. However, supragingival dental calculus is mainly seen in oral exams, while subgingival dental calculus is only detected on panoramic radiography; this difference means that the two methods can be used synergistically.