Panoramic X-ray

Spokane Dental Explains Panoramic and Cone Beam Imaging

If you’ve ever been to the dentist and been a tad confused about the need for multiple x-rays, you are not alone! Many patients have questions about the purpose of multiple types of x-rays, what a “pano” is, and what is that big machine that rotates around your head?! Your Spokane Dental Team has all the answers for you about panoramic x-rays and cone beam imaging:

What is a Panoramic X-Ray?

A panoramic x-ray, or “pano” as it may be referred to in the dental office, is x-ray imaging that is a 2-Dimensional picture of the whole mouth. The dentist is able to not only see the crown and roots of each tooth, but the jaw bones and anatomy surrounding them.

At Spokane Dental, we have a cone beam x-ray unit. The imaging is similar in idea to a panoramic x-ray, but cone beam technology produces a 3-Dimensional image that our doctors can use to see any and all anatomy in any given field. This means that we can see the thickness of the bone, location of canals and even blood vessels!

What is a Panoramic X-Ray Like?

The cone beam and panoramic x-ray machines may look intimidating, but it is an easy and painless process for the patient. The arms of the machine move around the patient’s head, taking continuous snapshots that culminate into a 3-D image of the patient’s anatomy.

What you can expect as a patient: first begin by donning a fancy (and weighted) apron before stepping up to the machine. Next you will be guided to rest your chin and head on the designated resting spots and lightly bite down on the guide. There are handles to hold on to to help you stay still during the x-ray. That’s it! The machine will move around your head, without touching you, while you stay still in place. The imaging is sent digitally and available for the dentists and dental team to examine and use for procedures and the dental exam.

Why Do I Need One?

When you sit in the chair at Spokane Dental, we aren’t simply looking at your teeth. Every dental exam the hard and soft tissue structures in the mouth are examined for disease. We screen for oral cancer, periodontal disease, as well as the health of the teeth themselves. The imaging allows us to see what is happening under the gums and catch problems early on before they need more extensive work.

Our Cone Beam Imaging machine allows Dr. Smith to plan out (in 3 dimensions) procedures like dental implants with total accuracy and safety. It also allows us to better understand and see soft tissue health surrounding the teeth. This type of imaging fills in the gap that our one dimensional x-rays of the teeth may not be able to see as accurately.

Your Spokane Dental Team offers the best preventive and restorative dental care for the whole family. Every day we use our knowledge and state of the art technology to help our patients live their healthiest lives. Call us today at (509)822-5614 to schedule a visit.