Diagnostic Radiology - Panorex X-Ray

What is a Panorex X-Ray?

A panorex is an x-ray that provides a full view of the upper and lower jaws, teeth, temporomandibular joints (TMJs) and sinuses.

What are some common uses of the procedure?

A panorex x-ray assists the physician in identifying fractures of the teeth and/or jaw bone, diagnosing temporomandibular joint dysfunction, viewing impacted wisdon teeth, detecting the presence of bone or gum disease, surveying genetic abnormalities such as a cleft palate and determining asymmetry of the oral and maxillofacial area.

How should I prepare for the procedure?

There is no special preparation required for a panorex x-ray.  Once you arrive, the technologist will ask you to remove any jewelry or metal objects that could show up on the image.

Women should always inform their physician or technologist if there is any possibility that they may be pregnant.

What does the x-ray equipment look like?

A panorex machine is often seen at your dentist's office.  It is an upright unit with a place to rest your chin and your forehead.  The radiographic portion of the machine that creates an image will travel all the way around the outside of the head.

How is the procedure performed?

Radiography exposes a part of the body to a small dose of radiation to produce an image.  When x-rays penetrate the body, they are absorbed in varying amounts by different parts of the body.  The teeth, for example, absorb much of the radiation and appear white on the image.  The softer tissues absorb very little of the radiation and will appear dark on the image.

How is the procedure performed?

During a panorex x-ray, the technologist will position your head straight and secure it so that there is no movement.  You will be asked to stay very still while the panorex machine travels around the outside of your head for approximately 20 seconds.

Who interprets the results and how do I get them?

A radiologist will interpret the images, and a signed report will be sent to your physician who will discuss the results with you.