Top 4 Applications for a Dental Panoramic X-ray in a Hospital

While panoramic x-ray equipment is most commonly seen in dental offices, there is a growing desire by health care facilities to add the panoramic x-ray modality to their capabilities.  The main reasons for this are a combination of the panoramic x-ray’s broad diagnostic capabilities along with its dramatically lower cost and lower radiation exposure relative to other traditional medical imaging modalities. 

As a point of reference, the effective radiation dose of a typical panoramic x-ray is about 10 microsieverts, while a traditional medical CT may be in the range of 1000 – 10,000 microsieverts (100 to 1000 times).   It’s also worth noting that the panoramic scan takes roughly 10 seconds.

At ImageWorks, we have helped many medical centers, hospitals, and urgent care clinics add panoramic x-ray machines, and we quickly hear how useful they are to the staff.  Here are four of the most common applications that we see them used for:


Preoperative Surgical Evaluation

Many surgical centers have a requirement to perform a panoramic scan before certain types of surgical procedures for which the dentition may have an effect.  For example, some facilities require a panoramic scan on a patient before brain surgery. 


Trauma assessment

Hospitals and emergency clinics value the ability to quickly assess patients with trauma to the head and jaw area.  Specifically, suspected fracture of the mandible, TMJ problems, or other pain in the head and jaw area.  The panoramic x-ray scan is also conducive with these types of trauma because it does not require the patient to open their mouth.


Emergency patients with severe dental pain or infection

Some medical facilities have found that they have patients with traditional dental conditions that have become severe enough to prompt a visit to the emergency room for treatment. 


Dental surgery

For some medical facilities, they have dental specialists who perform surgery on the premises.  In these cases, these specialists desire (or demand) to have a dental extaoral scan done either preoperatively or postoperatively (or both)


Of course, there are many other applications for which the panoramic x-ray machine may be used by the medical facility or hospital.  However, in our experience, these are four very common ones that we see being performed by many of the facilities that we support.



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