What Is an OPG X-Ray?

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Did you know that 1 in 25 Australians over the age of 15 have no natural teeth left? The advances in dental X-ray technology make sense when you realize the impact your oral health has on the rest of your life.

Is your child’s smile looking ready for braces? Are your wisdom teeth finally making an appearance?

An OPG X-ray could be just what the dentist ordered.

What Is an OPG X-Ray?

Orthopantomography, shortened to OPG X-ray, is a type of X-ray that gives a panoramic view of the mandible, maxilla, and teeth.

OPG provides a rapid, convenient, and inexpensive look at everything going on within and around the jaw. It is most often used in dentistry for diagnosis and routine checkups but is occasionally used in the ER.

In the past, dentists would have to wait for film to develop before they could take a good look at your jaw. With Digital X-ray technology like OPG X-rays, they gain instant access to the images and can begin diagnosis right away.

How Do OPG X-Rays Work?

Dental X-rays use the same principles as regular X-rays. Short blasts of low-level radiation create images of the bones and teeth within the body.

For sharp, undistorted imaging during an OPG, you need to be as still as possible, whether this is seated or standing. The x-ray source rotates around the front of your head from one side of the jaw to the other.

Before the scan, you will need to remove jewelry, dentures, glasses, and hearing aids. You will rest your chin on a small chin rest to minimize movement.

While the scan takes place, you need to bite down on a sterile mouthpiece and press your tongue against the hard palate. The procedure is quick, painless, and doesn’t cause any side effects afterward.

When Do I Need an OPG X-Ray?

Dental x-rays such as OPG are necessary to gain a deeper understanding of a variety of conditions. Undiagnosed conditions can worsen without intervention, so it’s important to catch them as soon as possible.

OPGs can be conducted to diagnose or monitor the following:

  • Cavities within teeth
  • Teeth impaction (tooth that has been blocked from breaking through the gum)
  • Fractures
  • Dislocation of the jaw
  • Infection
  • Tumors
  • Sinuses

Early detection of most conditions increases your chance of smooth treatment and recovery.

OPGs are also useful when planning orthodontic treatment, detecting and assessing the development of wisdom teeth, and for a general overview of your dental health.

Get Your OPG X-Ray From a Dentist You Can Trust

The best way to handle any problem is to look at it in as much detail as possible. An OPG X-ray lets your dentist see the full picture of what your teeth are getting up to.

OPG is rapid, convenient, and takes the guesswork out of dentistry. Schedule an appointment today to keep your smile looking its best.