The panoramic x-ray, or Panorex as it was first called, is a wonderful modern invention. It has much less radiation than a traditional full set of eighteen (18) smaller x-rays and it much more comfortable for the patient to have taken. The panoramic x-ray can also be taken very quickly and is especially helpful when a patient is in pain.Typically, a panoramic x-ray should be taken every three (3) years and having a series of them on the same patient can assist the dentist in later determining whether changes seen in the panoramic x-ray are normal or not.
The panoramic x-ray is not the same as a full mouth set of dental x-rays. The panoramic x-ray shows much more of the patient than a bunch of smaller x-rays. Very often the nerve going to the lower lip, the mandibular nerve, can not be seen in a full mouth set. Paralyzing the manibular nerve is a possible complication of dental implant surgery, so it is very important to have a panorex x-ray whenever dental implant surgery is planned.