Panoramic X-ray – Why you need one
Why is a current panoramic x-ray important?
When coming to our office for a dental procedure, it is very important for us to have a current x-ray. Current x-rays (also known as radiographs), are essential for accurate diagnosis. It is important for our doctors to see all areas of the face and jaws that are adjacent to surgical areas. Due to changes that can occur in the face or jaw, it is important that our doctors have a new x-ray to view for quality care. The acceptable age of the x-ray is dependent on what you are being evaluated for. For routine extraction of wisdom teeth that are not currently causing any problems, our surgeons will utilize an e-ray that was taken within the past year. However, if you are being evaluated for a cyst in your jaw bone, a more current x-ray is required. Our surgeons are able to use past x-rays to compare to newer images to see changes overtime. Surgery cannot be planned without a current image. If you were to visit an orthopedic surgeon for knee surgery that doctor would need a current x-ray. He or she cannot recommend surgery with an x-ray that is 2 years old. It is the same for oral surgery. Unfortunately, most dental plans limit the frequency that an x-ray is covered to once over 3 to 5 years.
Why do I need a panoramic x-ray?
Panoramic x-rays show the whole mouth, and are often necessary for an accurate treatment plan. A few of the procedures for which panoramic x-rays are essential is third molars (wisdom teeth) extractions, tooth position abnormalities, dental implant planning, and lesions (growths, cysts, tumors) to name a few. Panoramic x-rays will also show our doctors the overall health and condition of a tooth, as well as its position in relation to other teeth or nerves. For the doctor to proceed with surgery in a safe manner, he will need to see the full panoramic x-ray.
At Cumberland Surgical Arts, we use digital dental x-rays. Digital dental x-rays are an advanced option that has made dental x-rays even safer and more convenient. Digital x-rays uses even less radiation than traditional x-rays. Not only are digital x-rays safe, but they are also more time-efficient than traditional x-rays. Instead of developing the film in a dark room, the dentist sends the images to a computer, where they can be viewed on the screen, saved to a file, and printed out.
My general dentist already has x-rays, why do I need a different one?
In some cases, the x-ray your general dentist has is a “bite wing”. This is a photo of only one area of a tooth or teeth. Bite wings are not able to be used for oral surgery, as our doctors need to see the full area of the mouth and jaw.
Other times, these film images are of inadequate orientation or quality (particularly when an image has been transferred to paper) and critical areas of anatomy cannot always be adequately discerned in order to make an informed decision. When transferring radiographic data from electronic media to paper it can result in significant loss of image resolution and clarity.
If your dentist has x-rays, it never hurts to bring them to your oral surgery appointment or to have your general dentist send the x-rays to our office to use as a comparison. As a courtesy to our patients, we will accept a recent copy of your x-ray from your doctor or dentist. However, if the x-ray is not the type that is needed, we will need to take one when you arrive at your consultation.
For more information on panoramic x-rays, click here.
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