5 Helpful Tips To Handle A Dental Panoramic Scanner

Dental office
Tips To Handle A Dental Panoramic Scanner

Handling a dental panoramic scanner

Dentists need to take images of your teeth and gums to evaluate your oral health. They also find out the root cause of the problems like cavities, decay, etc., based on the images. Images help technicians make the fit dental implants for your teeth, for example, the size of the dental crown. Moreover, most of the dental problems occur below the gum line, which is not visible to the naked eye. 

Without imaging technologies, the dentist would have to cut your gums to fix issues. So, imaging is a crucial part of dentistry. And, dentists began to use x-rays as soon as they were discovered. Dentists can identify tooth decay, periodontal disease, infections, and even tumors with the x-ray images. 

Types of dental x-ray radiography

Periapical radiographs:

It is for imaging the individual tooth. The whole tooth, from crown to root, is available on the picture. The dentists can club the neighboring teeth in one image. They insert small film cards inside the patient's mouth. So, they are also known as intraoral X-rays.

Panoramic radiographs:

Here the X-ray machine moves around the patient's mouth, and the entire mouth area, including all the teeth and upper and lower jaws are all available on a single image. Traditionally it is for detecting the position of emerging wisdom teeth, jaw problems, and for planning implant positions. 

Nowadays, dentists are using panoramic machines for bitewing techniques. Here the dentists ask you to hold a special paper between your upper and lower teeth to check the alignment of crowns and for finding cavities. The panoramic technique is extraoral. Patients need not have any internal films, and direct digital imaging is possible.

Dental exam
 Direct digital imaging is possible.

Cephalometric radiographs:

Here, the dentists take the radiographic image of one side of the face inclusive of the head. Orthodontists use it to diagnose misalignment of jaws and bite problems. An interesting fact is that dentists use the standard panoramic machine to take these images. But the device is outfitted with a film-holding arm on one side. 
Thus we see that a dental panoramic scanner has multiple uses and is one of the great inventions in the field of dentistry. 

Now let us check the ways of handling it carefully:

  🗹 Select projection and Size:

The main advantage of panoramic machines is that they can cut down the level of radiation by forty percent. Dentists can easily select the beam size using a touchscreen panel. Ideally, the beam height at the receiving slit should not be higher than the x-ray film (120 -150 mm). The beam width should be around 5 mm.

 If possible, dentists must use sophisticated methods for imaging individual jaw segments and tooth-bearing regions alone. Dentists should use a dental panoramic scanner with 'child-imaging mode' so that the dose of radiation exposure is minimum and safe for children.  
 Dentists use methods for imaging individual jaw segments

🗹 Patient jewelry and body piercing:

Dentists should ask the patient to remove glasses, dental implants, jewelry (including earrings), hair clips, etc. These alter the image photograph of the x-rays. They cause ghosting and prevent visualization of normal anatomy. Due to the non-removal of body piercings, at times, cystic lesions might go undetected. So, surgery becomes inevitable. 

Also, with non-clear images, dentists might go for retakes. It leads to increased exposure to ionizing radiation. Thus, patients must remove jewelry and piercings of the head and oral cavity.

🗹 Go for double and triple center rotation x-ray machine:

double and triple center rotation x-ray machine
Double and triple center rotation x-ray machine.
In panoramic radiography, the axis around which the cassette or the film carrier and the x-ray tube head rotate is known as a rotation center. As you increase the number of rotation centers, clear and uninterrupted images can be obtained. 

In moving-center rotational machines, the film or the recording medium also rotates in the direction of the x-ray beam but at a slower speed. If the speed is too less, then the length of the image is affected. One should carefully choose the speed of the film such that the horizontal magnification matches with the vertical one. 

Moreover, the image layers are also affected by varying the rotation speed. Nowadays, panoramic machines allow you to choose between stationary and moving modes. Dentists use a combination of the images obtained from both the methods for an accurate diagnosis. 

🗹 Intensifying screens: 

The panoramic scanner machines should have intensifying screens in the recording medium. These screens are plastic sheets coated with fluorescent materials like phosphorus. They can convert x-rays information into a light pattern. These enhance the latent image quality by increasing the sensitivity of the film. Thus, you can reduce the dosage of radiation and get better quality images.

 🗹 Patient positioning:

Patient positioning
The equipment has provisions for forehead rest, chin rest, and lateral head support guides. The dentists can ask the patient to hold bite blocks if required. The positions of the head, chin, neck, and tongue are crucial for determining the accuracy of the panoramic image.

 For example, when the chin is tipped too low, the hyoid bone gets projected on top of the mandible and the mandibular region is not visible on the image. Similarly, there can be errors due to sitting or standing with a forward or backward tilt. Most of the errors occur with the failure to position the tongue against the palate.

So, the dentists must help the patients with proper positioning to get the best images. Panoramic dental scanners are more convenient when compared to intraoral counterparts. We can reduce the radiation dose by one-third, and the time required is around three-four minutes.

 One can get images of supporting structures like maxilla and mandible. We can obtain localized imaged too. The chance of infection is very less as dentists need not place sensors inside the patient's mouth, and disinfect it every time after use. They need to replace the bite blocks alone. 

Thus, careful positioning of the patient along with necessary precautions like wearing a lead apron, avoiding static discharge in the recording medium can make panoramic radiography highly effective.

Nowadays, there are facilities to temporarily store the x-ray energy pattern before recording them onto a film. It is for improving the diagnostic quality of the panoramic dental scanner.  

A Dental Panoramic Scanner

Video by Inveigle Magazine

Author: Jessica Smith has been writing articles for e-business and e-lance sites for more than 4 years. Her educational background is Masters in English and journalism which gives her a broad platform to write on a variety of topics with ease and efficiency. She is an independent writer especially enjoys writing on fashion and lifestyle.

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