Panoramic/Cephalometric/TMJ Digital Extra Oral X-Rays

Many patients do not realize that there are actually two different main types of X-rays used by our dentists here at Empress Walk Dental: intraoral X-rays and extraoral X-rays. As their names imply, intraoral X-rays focus on the inside of the mouth, including the teeth, and extraoral X-rays show the totality of the jaw and skull. Extraoral X-rays are not as detailed, so they serve a different purpose than their internally-focused counterparts, which help find cavities and problems with specific teeth. In contrast, extraoral X-rays help dentists identify problems such as impacted teeth and temporomandibular joint issues as well as keep an eye on the jaw’s growth and development. Lots of patients have experienced these X-rays, but few know what they are called.

There are in fact several different kinds of extraoral X-rays as well, including:

  • Panoramic (Panorex) X-rays – in this type of X-ray, a machine rotates around the patient’s head, capturing images of the entire mouth in a single image. Our dentists utilize this technology to figure out how to treat patients with impacted wisdom teeth and jaw issues as well as those who require dental implants. They can also be used to diagnose bony tumors and cysts and to identify bodies that have been too badly damaged, whether through fire, a crash, or other circumstances, using dental records in the event of an unidentifiable fatality.
  • Cephalometric projections –these show the whole head and the patient’s teeth in relation to their jaw and profile. These X-rays are often used by orthodontists to plan the best way to treat their patients.
  • Multi-slice computed tomography (MCT) – this technique is used when the dentist needs to isolate one particular part of the mouth in order to view it clearly. The machine takes a digital “slice” image of the area the dentist wants to focus on and blurs out the rest of the mouth.
  • Cone beam computerized tomography (CBCT) – this is a form of 3D radiography that provides dentists and orthodontists with high-quality images while delivering the lowest possible dose of radiation to our patients. These images are suitable for diagnosing various problems in the areas of periodontics, implantology, endodontics, and surgery.
  • Sialography – used to diagnose salivary gland issues such as blockages or Sjogrne’s syndrome, which is an autoimmune disease that causes problems with the production of saliva and tears. These diagnoses are made by means of a special dye which is injected into the salivary glands, making them stand out on the X-ray film so that they are easier to see.

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