OPG stands for Orthopantomography. It is used for obtaining radiographs of both the lower and upper teeth-bearing jaws.
Dental OPG gives an unobstructed view of all the extended parts inside the jawbone including bones, teeth, mouth and lower and upper jaws. A special x-ray reveals the details about jaws, teeth and face. The lateral or the sideways view of the face reveals the structure and problem in the jawbone in more detail than the normal x-ray.
When do Doctors Advise Dental OPG?
The dentists, oral surgeons, orthodontists, implantologists or prosthodontists recommend an OPG. The procedure provides a holistic view of the overall teeth and their adjacent bones. It is advised if the general dentist suspect any kind of dental complications including tumors, trauma, congenital abnormalities or infections.
It is also recommended for evaluating the general condition of the teeth and the jawbones.
Is Dental OPG Different from the Regular X-ray Machine?
A regular x-ray cannot give you a detailed panoramic view of the jawbone and teeth structure. On the other hand, the special design of the OPG machine ensures that the machine rotates around the teeth and jawbones to display their complete structure in full detail. Orthodontists, oral surgeons and prosthodontists who require cephalograms for carrying out teeth manipulation and surgeries mostly recommend it.
Significance of Dental OPG
A dental OPG is quite a different type of x-ray than is usually taken individually by the dentist. It displays all the major details about the teeth and lower and upper jaw in one single film. The OPG also reveals the growth, position and the number of the teeth and important details such as whether the teeth have erupted or are yet to surface.
The special x-ray can also display problems related to the joint that connects jawbone and the head known as the Temporomandibular joint or the TMJ. The x-ray is mostly requested if:
- Your dentist is planning for an orthodontic treatment or
- Want to assess the growth of wisdom teeth or
- Want to get a general view of your teeth and bone supporting the teeth
- The process is very quick and takes only 20 minutes.
Procedure for Dental OPG
Steps for carrying out Dental OPG include:
- Remove any jewelry, glasses or metal objects that you have on your body as these may obscure the x-ray result
- Stand and rest your face on a small shelf
- Bite on a sterile mouthpiece gently to steady the head
- Stay very still so that the x-ray image is steady
The procedure is painless, noninvasive and does not cause any discomfort. However, a pregnant woman should consult her caregiver before going for this procedure.
So, if you have been advised a special x-ray by your dentist, there is nothing to fear about it. It does not include injecting any dye or anesthesia and hence is quite an easy and quick process.