Orthopanoramics (assessment exams)

Content

Introduction

Introduction

The orthopanoramic or panoramic of the dental arches, more properly called orthopantomography, is an X-ray examination that allows to study the dental arches, the maxillary bones, the maxillary sinuses and the bone structure of the temporomandibular joints.

It can be useful to reveal the presence of tooth decay, gum disease (periodontitis) or damage to the internal tissues of the tooth (endodontic lesions, such as apical granulomas), or lesions affecting the jaw bones such as, for example, cysts or new formations in general.

It also shows the possible presence of impacted teeth, that is, which have not reached their natural location inside the mouth, (frequently wisdom teeth) or diseases affecting the mucous membrane of the maxillary sinuses (mucocele, sinusitis).

It is a simple and quick exam and does not require any specific preparation.

With the new digital technologies the exposure to radiation is extremely reduced, and this allows the orthopanoramic to be performed even on children and adolescents (obviously, it should be avoided in pregnant women).

To obtain clearly legible images, the patient's position on the machine must be very accurate; the operator will ask to rest the chin on a support (the craniostat), the front teeth on another and to place the hands on special handles, remaining motionless.

The exam can be printed on film or photographic paper or delivered on digital media (CD - DVD).

It must be said that the orthopanoramics offers an overview of some structures of the mouth but, in several cases, does not allow to obtain a precise detail. For this reason, specialists (mainly dentists) often prescribe further instrumental investigations such as intraoral radiographs or CT scans (Dentascan, Cone Beam).

The orthopanoramic is an X-ray examination performed to study the general situation of the mouth as it allows to simultaneously analyze the teeth, the dental arches, the bones of the jaw and the mandible. It is also used to identify the presence of dental malformations and to highlight bone lesions , inflammation, cysts or tumors. For these reasons, as well as by the dentist, the examination could also be prescribed by other specialists such as, for example, the surgeon, the oncologist or the otolaryngologist.

The test

The test

The orthopanoramic is an examination that is performed with a dedicated machine, called orthopantomograph, composed of an X-ray tube mounted on one side and the X-ray film or a detector on the opposite side.

X-rays are a form of energy that can pass through or be absorbed by solid objects, depending on their density. It is this feature that allows the image to be formed. Specifically, in the case of dense objects or tissues, such as teeth and bones, the energy is absorbed giving rise to light-colored areas in the resulting image. In the case of less dense objects , such as gums and cheeks, on the other hand, X-rays pass through them giving rise to dark areas.

The orthopanoramic examination is neither painful nor annoying and does not require any specific preparation. The only precaution necessary before undergoing it is to remove any metal objects from the head (such as earrings or tongue piercings), dental prostheses and dentures to avoid that interfere with obtaining a good image.

During the execution of the examination, the person must remain standing, still and motionless, with their head inside the device. He will have to bite into a rigid support, in order to maintain the correct position and avoid overlapping of the dental arches. The tube and x-ray cassette used in the procedure are rolled around the person's head.

The duration of the exam is very short, it does not exceed one minute.

Thanks to the low dose of ionizing radiation used, the orthopanoramic is not very harmful to the person. However, like all radiological examinations, it is contraindicated in pregnancy.

Results

Results

At the end of the examination, the radiographic images printed on film or saved on a digital support (CD, DVD) accompanied by the report (report) of the radiologist are delivered.

The x-ray must be seen by an expert (dentist, orthodontist, surgeon, etc.) who, by observing the images, and reading the radiologist's report, will be able to assess whether any problems are present and, if so, prescribe the most suitable treatment to solve them. .

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