Use of Panoramic Imaging for Patient Education

With the abundance of information readily available on the internet, patients are becoming more informed about health care. The dental patient is more apt to ask why radiographic images are necessary instead of just agreeing to the treatment. Because of this, the dental professional must be able to accurately interpret the panoramic image and educate the patient. It is important to have the patient actively involved with their treatment. Incorporating this information into the patient’s appointment will help improve their understanding of their oral condition and increase the perceived value of the appointment. Patients desire to be informed about their health and treatment options and taking time to explain and educate the patient will help meet this expectation.

According to Rondon, panoramic imaging is helpful for the following situations (Table 6):

Table 6. Uses for Panoramic Images.8
  • General surveys of oral health
  • Best radiographic supplements for surgical procedures
  • Evaluations for orthodontic treatment
  • Pediatric growth and development
  • Chronological dental eruption
  • Evaluating cysts or neoplastic lesions
  • Measurements for implantology
  • Historical documentation
  • Evaluation of TMJ

Figure 9. Interpretation.

Image of interpretation.
This panoramic image was taken when the patient was 9 years old. The clinician explained the process of tooth development to the parent and the possible need for orthodontic treatment in the future, due to the rotation of teeth #22 & 27.

Figure 10. Anatomy.

Image of anatomy.
The same patient (shown in Figure 9) is now 15 years old. Clinician explained that the wisdom teeth may need to be extracted and was able to involve the parent and patient by explaining what was seen on the panoramic image. This is a great visual to help understand the current condition, as well as comparing the panoramic image from 6 years ago. As shown, teeth #22 & 27 are still rotated but are not causing problems at this time.

Figure 11. Internal Resorption.

Image of internal resorption.
Patient came into the office with a complaint about their front tooth. After taking the panoramic image, it was noted that #9 had resorption on the root. The dentist then requested a periapical radiograph to evaluate the condition more closely.

Figure 12.

Image of internal resorption.
PA of #9 – Confirms internal resorption, which was observed in the panoramic image in Figure 11.