The X-ray (radiograph) is one of the most useful tools in dentistry. Different types of X-rays are used for different purposes. One of the most important types of dental X-ray is the panoramic or pan X-ray. While other types of X-rays give the dentist a detailed view of a specific part of the mouth, a panoramic one will provide a view of the entire mouth in one X-ray.
These X-rays are mainly used to plan for dental implants, detect problems of the jaw and to check on impacted wisdom teeth although there are many other applications. A pan X-ray is taken by using a special X-ray machine that moves around the head and takes one continuous image. As in the case of other X-rays, panoramic radiographs emit very little radiation and are completely safe.