Orthopantomography, also known as an orthopantomogram (OPG), is a method of dental imaging that captures a panoramic view of the entire jaw. This diagnostic tool provides a comprehensive image of both the upper and lower jaws, including all the teeth, tooth roots, sinuses, and the temporomandibular joint (TMJ).

The use of orthopantomography represents a significant advancement in dentistry and medicine. It allows for precise diagnosis and helps in the evolution of treatment methods for oral health issues. By offering a complete view of the oral cavity, an OPG aids in the early detection and treatment of potential dental problems.

When is orthopantomography used?

Orthopantomography is performed before the first dental examination, alongside the clinical examination, to determine the actual condition of the mouth.

Orthopantomograms are now done using digital technology, allowing for the visualization of not only the teeth but also those that are fused or poorly positioned at the root. Orthopantomography is most commonly used to identify problems in the mouth, such as when wisdom teeth fail to emerge or change their growth direction.


Situations for Orthopantomography:

There are several stages to go through before determining a treatment plan. Dentists recommend orthopantomograms in several cases:

  • Checking the position of unerupted wisdom teeth or other teeth
  • Assessing the quality and quantity of bone
  • Suspecting issues with the sinuses
  • Detecting cavities or other types of dental diseases
  • Examining the position and length of tooth roots and identifying any processes in the bone, such as cysts, infections, or granulomas
  • Diagnosing periodontal disease and evaluating the bone condition around the teeth

The device used to produce orthopantomograms, the orthopantomograph, is a state-of-the-art digital X-ray machine. It is very safe for the patient’s overall health, with a minimal level of radiation.

After the dental imaging, the dentist makes a diagnosis. The 2D and 3D images are also used for ongoing monitoring of the patient’s condition.


Types of dental imaging

There are several types of dental imaging, most commonly referred to as 3D dental imaging and 2D orthopantomography.

2D and 3D images differ, but not significantly. A 2D image shows only the basic positions of the teeth, making it suitable for addressing minor issues. In prosthetics and for diagnosing problems, 3D imaging is much more frequently used. A 3D image reveals the entire jaw structure, allowing problems to be viewed from multiple angles. This is the greatest advantage of digital orthopantomograms.

Depending on the suspected issue and what needs to be identified, dentists decide on the type of imaging to be used. This approach ensures proper problem resolution, guiding decisions for interventions such as treatment, extraction, or prosthetics.

The duration of dental imaging is very short and does not significantly disrupt other activities. It will only take a few minutes, and in the worst-case scenario, dental imaging may take up to 10 minutes.


Harmfulness of orthopantomography to health

Although there is a common belief that imaging is highly harmful, it isn’t.

The devices used for dental imaging today are internationally certified, and their radiation is no greater than that of household appliances or mobile phones.

When it comes to imaging children and their teeth, there is usually a bit more concern. However, there is no need to worry because orthopantomograms can only be beneficial. When it comes to assessing oral problems and the ability to address resulting issues, orthopantomography is the number one tool for diagnosis.


Preparation for imaging

There is no strict rule or absolute requirement for preparing for orthopantomography. It is advisable not to wear jewelry or items that could cause shadow issues. Computerized dental imaging and digitization have made it possible to obtain the image almost instantly, so there is no need to worry about how long you will have to wait.

Important to know…

Once you entrust a dentist with your oral health, it becomes easier for them to monitor the entire process occurring in your mouth until full recovery. This is crucial because, in the event of recurring issues, the dentist will know where to start addressing the problem.

Dentists use orthopantomographic images to better prevent the onset of diseases such as cavities, periodontitis, or other similar conditions.

As we mentioned in one of our blog posts, dentistry doesn’t hurt, the lack of dentistry does. This is an important rule to keep in mind whenever we hesitate to thoroughly address a problem in our mouths.

Neglecting health creates numerous problems, and today, when medicine has reached its historical peak, it is important to use almost every segment of it.

Dentists are grateful for the existence of orthopantomography technology, and orthopantomographic images may pave the way for even more advanced methods. Overall, for just a few thousand dinars, you can monitor every change in your mouth caused by neglect, poor health practices, or bad habits.

Unlike the times when dentistry was a matter of magic combined with minimal herbal knowledge, today we have a developed system. Despite this, it is still common to fear dentistry. We are here to break prejudices and help those who have neglected their health. Orthopantomography is the first step towards improving the condition or at least gaining insight. It is better to have an understanding of your health in time than to deal with consequences when they go too far.

We emphasize once again that a 3D scan is, in some moments, much more significant than a 2D scan, but it is not always necessary. Therefore, do not worry about the costs either.