Pantomographic radiographs, panoramic x-rays for short, show a picture of the entire upper and lower jaws and the surrounding structures. They are an excellent tool for your dentist to find dental diseases in there early stages. One can see tumors while they are small and have caused minimal damage. Removal at that stage can be less debilitating, and, if cancerous, can greatly increase the survival rate. One can see impacted wisdom teeth and their relationship to major structures such as nerves and sinuses. They are great for an orthodontist to check root alignment and blunting of the roots The detail is not enough to spot cavities in their early stages. It is also not generally used to diagnose gum disease since the closeup x-rays give better detail.
The amount of radiation is about the equivalent of a chest x-ray. It is not recommended on a routine basis, except for every third year. It can be an excellent screening tool to see things that don’t normally show up on the routine x-rays such as failing root canals, root fractures, or cysts. The use of panoramic x-rays can help keep costs of dental treatment down due to being able to catch things in their early stages and can also save lives.