Dentistry is one of many healthcare fields that is forever evolving. In response, more dental practitioners are embracing new technologies aimed at improving their patient’s oral health. These advancements are especially noticeable when it comes to x-rays. For example, many dental practices have begun using panoramic x-rays as opposed to traditional bitewing dental x-rays. For those who may not be familiar with panoramic x-rays, they are x-rays that enable dentists to view a patient’ entire mouth, including all the teeth in the upper and lower jaws with one x-ray. This technology provides several benefits over bitewing technology that requires multiple x-rays, which can be more time-consuming. In this article, we will take a closer look at panoramic x-rays and what makes them so appealing to dentists and patients alike.
WHAT ARE PANORAMIC X-RAYS?
In short, panoramic x-rays are two-dimensional x-rays that can take a complete image of the entire oral cavity, making it possible for dental practitioners to review more than just the patient’s teeth. Panoramic x-rays also enable dentists to review multiple bones in the head and neck, which can provide even more detailed information relating to the patient’s overall oral health. Unlike traditional bitewing x-rays, which only offer a close-up view of the teeth, panoramic x-rays, by comparison, provide a global view of the oral cavity, ensuring that no dental problems go undetected. This expansive view also makes it easier for dentists to screen patients for gum disease, oral cancer, abnormal tissue, and other oral health problems. In layman’s terms, panoramic x-rays can detect dental problems that may not be visible with traditional bitewing x-rays.
WHAT DO PANORAMIC X-RAYS ENTAIL?
If you’re considering a panoramic x-ray for your next dental check-up with a Sunrise dental practice, there are a few things that you should know regarding the procedure. During a panoramic x-ray, your head will be placed in an optimal position using chin, forehead, and side rests, which not only contributes to greater comfort during the procedure but also ensures that the x-rays deliver the best possible results. From there, the dentist will take the steps necessary to stabilize your bite, which allows your mouth to remain slightly open, as the x-ray machine rotates in concise semicircles around your head. These semicircular movements will provide the dentist with a global view of your entire oral cavity. The entire process takes 30 seconds or less and is completely painless, especially when compared to bitewing x-rays whereby patients are required to bite down on bitewing tabs before an x-ray image can be captured, which can be uncomfortable.
WHY SHOULD PROSPECTIVE PATIENTS CONSIDER PANORAMIC X-RAYS?
Along with providing dentists with a complete and unobstructed view of the patient’s oral cavity, panoramic x-rays offered by Sunrise dental groups also provide the following benefits:
Better care – Panoramic x-rays allow dentists to view how the head, neck, and jaw work synergistically, which, in turn, makes it easier to detect problems that may exist throughout the anatomical structures of the mouth. Some of these problems can include jaw abnormalities, cysts, tumors, oral cancer, and much more. It is also important to note that these x-rays allow dentists to detect problems at their onset when they are easier and less expensive to treat.
Improved life expectancy – While it may be hard to imagine how improved oral health can contribute to a longer life, it is possible, especially with the help of panoramic x-ray technology. Panoramic x-rays are designed to detect serious oral health problems like gum disease, for example, before it can contribute to heart disease and other illnesses. These x-rays can also detect oral cancer in its earliest stages when the survival rate is still quite high. In fact, studies show that several health problems will begin in the oral cavity first before advancing to the body.
Better tracking of your oral health – Studies show that by having a panoramic x-ray done every 3 to 5 years, patients will be able to see how their teeth are evolving throughout the years. Being able to observe these changes will allow you and your dentists to determine if your teeth are shifting out of place and whether or not orthodontic treatments may be necessary. Furthermore, routine panoramic x-rays can help determine whether or not you may be experiencing bone abnormalities, which can adversely affect your oral health.
Wisdom teeth – Panoramic x-rays are especially beneficial for adolescents and young adults whose wisdom teeth will soon be coming in. After all, these specialized x-rays will show whether these teeth are coming in crooked or straight, which will inform the dentist’s decision to either extract them or leave them in place. Also worth noting, panoramic x-rays are useful in identifying TMJ (temporomandibular joint syndrome) issues early as well.
In summation, panoramic x-rays offer a number of benefits over traditional bitewing x-rays. As a result, more and more dental practices, especially those in the Sunrise area, are embracing this relatively new technology. Also, from a cost perspective, panoramic x-rays are not too much more expensive than bitewing x-rays, and they provide more insight when it comes to your oral health. Furthermore, like any other x-ray, panoramic x-rays are covered by most dental insurance. For more information on panoramic x-rays or to schedule a consultation, consider visiting us online at drericmehlerdds.com.