Why are OPGs used?

OPGs are a type of x-ray that allow us to get a panoramic view of the full mouth and jaw. Because of this, OPGs are great options for everyday dental check-ups, but they can also be very useful for certain types of treatments too. As panoramic x-rays show the entire mouth of the patient they are good at showing fractures and bone deformities, infections, and impacted teeth. Unlike standard x-rays, they can’t show the intricacies of cavities, for example. An OPG is like a big picture, and an x-ray may still be used to focus on the smaller  details.

How do they work?

Your radiographer will position your head, and the OPG machine will rotate around the outside of your mouth. All you need to do is get comfy and stay still. No other equipment is necessary.

Are they dangerous?

In general, dental x-rays are considered safe to use, as they expose patients to very little radiation from one x-ray session. It is believed that people are exposed to more radiation from their day-to-day life than a single x-ray session. You will be warned by your dentist that a panoramic will produce 0.02 mSv, which is more than the 0.005 mSv produced by a standard bitewing x-ray, but this is still within safe limits of use. If you’re unsure about having an x-ray, speak with your dentist – they will be happy to answer all your questions.

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