Panoramic radiography, also called panoramic x-ray, is a two-dimensional (2-D) dental x-ray examination that captures the entire mouth in a single image, including the teeth, upper and lower jaws, surrounding structures and tissues. An x-ray (radiograph) is a noninvasive medical test that helps diagnose and treat medical conditions.
Imaging with x-rays involves exposing a part of the body to a small dose of ionizing radiation to produce pictures of the inside of the body. X-rays are the oldest and most frequently used form of medical imaging. Unlike a traditional intraoral x-ray where the film/x-ray detector is placed inside of the mouth, the film for a panoramic x-ray is contained inside of the machine.
A panoramic x-ray is a commonly performed examination 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.