Panoramic x-ray for wisdom teeth
In a consultation for wisdom teeth removal, the use of the panoramic x-ray or orthopantomogram (OPG) is important in helping to identify impacted wisdom teeth.
The panoramic x-ray is the preferred x-ray method because it can scan the entire upper and lower jaw - from ear to ear, in one shot.
The x-ray machine has a rotating arm that moves around the head to catch the single two-dimensional image, with the process taking around a minute. Its ability to capture a complete picture of the mouth in a very short time makes it very useful for dentists to identify issues for treatment and offer a speedy diagnosis.
Alongside helping to assess wisdom teeth, the panoramic x-ray can also be used to discover jaw problems and plan treatment for dental implants.
Though this type of x-ray is favoured for ease of use, it's not so efficient in the way of cavity detection unless the decay is deep. The panoramic x-ray procedure is safe, exposing patients to the machine's radiation for only five and a half to 22 seconds.
The other dental x-rays used to capture images of the teeth are the bitewing, periapical and occlusal.