An Orthopantomogram (OPG) or Dental Panoramic Radiograph (DPR), also known as a “panorex”, is a special type of x-ray that looks at the lower face, teeth, jaw joints and maxillary sinuses. The teeth are displayed in a long flat line.

Orthopantomogram (OPG)

Orthopantomogram (OPG)

This x-ray is useful to demonstrate the number of teeth as well as their position and growth, and is particularly useful to assess teeth that have not yet surfaced.An OPG relies on tomography i.e. images of specific radiographic planes are taken to make up the larger panoramic image.

OPG Machine

OPG Machine

What should patients expect when they arrive at the practice?

During the OPG the arm of the machine will rotate slowly around the head but will not come into contact with the patient. The Radiographer (a technologist trained in medical and dental imaging) will instruct the patient to bite on a small plastic mouthpiece attached to the machine, which keeps the top and bottom teeth separated and helps position the mouth properly in the machine.

OPG Machine

A patient,getting into position for an OPG scan

For a Lateral Cephalogram you are required to hold still and bite together on the back teeth. Lips should be relaxed. The Radiographer will help ensure that patients are in the correct position before taking the x-ray.

How long does it take?

The procedure is very brief (about 15 minutes or less) and is painless and simple. It is very important that to follow all instructions and hold absolutely still once positioned.

Images or scan are interpreted by our Radiologist. Patients can either wait for results or alternative arrangements can be made to collect them at a later stage. Please collect  images and results before returning to referrer.

Is there any special preparation required?

There is no special preparation required and there are no after effects following the scan. Once at the practice, patients will be asked to remove any jewellery or metallic items from the head and neck region, including any piercings, hair accessories, dentures and plates, as these often interfere with x-ray image formation and produce unwanted artifacts.