What is an OPG?

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What is an OPG?

OPGs are dental X-rays of the upper and lower jaws (Orthopantomagrams). This is a two-dimensional depiction of a half-circle from the ears to the ears. Using panoramic x-rays, multiple pictures of the maxilla (upper jaw) and mandible (lower jaw) can be collected to form a composite panoramic image. Objects outside of the viewing area appear fuzzy. You will almost certainly dohave an OPG at some stage throughout your dental treatment.

Any teeth that have not yet surfaced or erupted through the gum line, as well as their number, location, and rate of growth, are also evident on an OPG. It’s not like the close-up x-rays of individual teeth that dentists take. It displays less fine detail, but it covers a much broader area of the picture. For example, this can be used to check for wisdom teeth or the growth of a child’s jaw and teeth, which can assist determine whether orthodontic treatment is necessary. The TMJ (temperomandibular joint) or CMA (crano-mandibular articulation) is routinely evaluated in those who grind their teeth.

The  advantages of  an OPGs is:

  • It provides an in-depth examination of the face bones and teeth, with special emphasis on the TMJ (temporomandibular joint)
  • The patient receives a minimal dose of radiation.
  • The patient’s teeth are  inspected with ease.
  • Some patients have restrictions in their capacity to open their mouths – this makes it easier
  • It doesn’t take long to take the image
  • It is useful for both educating patients and presenting cases.

The radiographer or dentist will ask you to remove any jewellery or metallic items from around your head and neck in order to obtain a clear x-ray image. The actual image is captured in only 20 seconds of the three-minute OPG process.


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