Dental Imaging (Orthopantomogram)

What is an Orthopantomogram?

An Orthopantomogram, or OPG, 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. 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.

What is Lateral Cephalometry?

A Lateral Cephalogram (or Lat Ceph) is an x-ray taken of the side of your face with very precise positioning, so that various measurements can be made to determine the current and future relationship of your top and bottom jaw (maxilla and mandible) and therefore assess the nature of your bite. This is particularly useful to plan any orthodontic treatment that may be necessary.

As your treatment progresses, it is helpful to have any additional Lat Cephs taken at the same practice so that the x-rays can easily be compared.

Preparation

There is no special preparation required and there are no after effects following your scan. Once you are at the practice, you 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. You will not be required to change into a gown.

Procedure

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

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