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Dental X-rays are pictures of the teeth, bones, and soft tissues around them to help find problems with the teeth, mouth, and jaw.  X-ray pictures can show cavities, hidden dental structures (such as wisdom teeth), and bone loss that cannot be seen during a visual examination.  Dental X-rays may also be done as follow-up after dental treatments.

What is a Bitewing X-ray?

Bitewing X-rays show the upper and lower back teeth and how the teeth touch each other in a single view.  These X-rays are used to check for decay between the teeth and to show how well the upper and lower teeth line up.  They also show bone loss when severe gum disease or a dental infection is present.

What is an OPG and Lat Ceph?

OPG (Orthopantomogram) and Lat Ceph (Lateral Cephalometric Radiograph) are special x-rays of the lower face, teeth and jaws.
An OPG is a panoramic or wide view x-ray of the lower face, which displays all the teeth of the upper and lower jaw on a single film.  It demonstrates the number, position and growth of all the teeth including those that have not yet surfaced or erupted.  It is different from the small close up x-rays dentists take of individual teeth.  An OPG may also reveal problems with the jawbone and the joint which connects the jawbone to the head, called the Temporomandibular joint or TMJ.

An OPG may be requested for the planning of orthodontic treatment, for assessment of wisdom teeth or for a general overview of the teeth and the bone which supports the teeth.
A Lat Ceph is a lateral or side view x-ray of the face, which demonstrates the bones and facial contours in profile on a single film.  Lat Ceph x-rays are usually used in the diagnosis and treatment of orthodontic problems.

What do I need to do to prepare?

No preparation is required for dental x-ray procedures.
Please bring any previous x-rays with you on the day of your examination.
OPG – You may be asked to remove jewellery, eyeglasses, and any metal objects that may obscure the images.  You will be asked to stand with your face resting on a small shelf and to bite gently on a sterile mouth piece to steady your head.  It is important to stay very still while the x-ray is taken.  You will not feel any discomfort during the procedure.
Lat Ceph – You may be asked to remove jewellery, eyeglasses, and any metal objects that may obscure the images.  You will be asked to stand with your head against the machine so that it can be adjusted for your comfort.  A pair of cone shaped plastic supports are then gently positioned in each ear, rather like a pair of headphones.  This aligns both ears to ensure that an exact side view of the face is obtained.  You will not feel any discomfort during the procedure.

If you would like to arrange a consultation, or simply wish to know more about our dental clinic services in Ashburton, please Contact Us.