What is a Panorex?
A panoramic radiograph is a panoramic scanning dental X-ray of the upper and lower jaw. It shows a two-dimensional view of a half-circle from ear to ear. Panoramic radiography is a form of focal plane tomography; thus, images of multiple planes are taken to make up the composite panoramic image, where the maxilla and mandible are in the focal trough and the structures that are superficial and deep to the trough are blurred.
Other nonproprietary names for a panoramic radiograph are dental panoramic radiograph and pantomogram; Abbreviations include PAN, DPR, OPT, and OPG (the latter, based on genericizing a trade name, are often avoided in medical editing).
What are some of the Advantages?
Broad coverage of facial bone and teeth
Low patient radiation dose
Convenience of examination for the patient (films need not be placed inside the mouth)
Ability to be used in patients who cannot open the mouth or when the opening is restricted e.g.: due to trismus
Short time required for making the image
Patient's ready understandability of panoramic films, making them a useful visual aid in patient education and case presentation.
Easy to store compared to the large set of intra oral x-rays which are typically used.
Like any medical imaging utilizing ionizing radiation, there will be a minute degree of direct ionizing damage and indirect damage from free radicals created during the ionization of water molecules within cells. A rough estimate of the risk of fatal cancer from a panoramic radiograph is about 1 in 20,000,000. The age of the person being imaged also alters the risk, with younger people having a slightly higher risk. E.g. the 1 in 10,000,000 risk would be doubled for someone in the 1-10 age group.