Dental Imaging

Dental Imaging:
OPG and Cephalometry

Our X-Ray units ensure the highest quality images are produced efficiently and with reduced radiation dose.

What is a dental X-Ray?

Dental X-Rays are radiographic pictures of the teeth, bones and the surrounding soft tissues of the mouth and are among the most valuable tools a dentist has for keeping your teeth healthy.

X-Ray pictures can show things like cavities, hidden structures (such as wisdom teeth) and bone loss, all of which may be missed during a visual examination. For this reason, they are used to screen for and identify problems with your teeth, mouth and jaw.

What types of dental X-Rays are there?

At NQ X-Ray Services we perform two main types of dental X-Ray:

  1. Orthopantomogram (OPG); and
  2. Lateral Cephalometry (Lat Ceph).

(1) What is an OPG?

An OPG is a special type of X-Ray that shows all your upper and lower teeth as a single image in a long flat line. This single image shows the number, position and growth rate of all of your teeth, including those that have not yet surfaced.

(2) What is a Lat Ceph?

Lat Ceph images are X-Rays that display the entire side of the head. They are used to obtain precise measurements of the lower face, and to look at your teeth in relation to the jaw and your overall side profile. Examining your jaw in relation to your cheek bones helps to identify the nature of your bite. For this reason, Lat Ceph’s are used by Orthodontists to determine the most appropriate treatment when realigning your teeth (for example braces or plates).

Why may you need a Dental X-Ray?

A dental X-Ray is requested when your dentist needs to examine your teeth, mouth and jaw in great detail.

While every patient is different, common reasons for referral include:

  • To detect tooth decay that’s occurring between the teeth or under an existing filling
  • To detect damage to the bones that support the teeth (bone loss)
  • To identify dental injuries such as broken tooth roots or nerve infections
  • To detect teeth that are abnormally placed or that don’t break through the gums properly (impacted teeth)
  • To detect cysts, tumors, or abscesses caused by certain dental problems
  • To plan treatment for large or extensive cavities, root canal surgery, placement of dental implants, or difficult tooth removals
  • To plan treatment of teeth that are not properly aligned (orthodontic treatment)

How are the Procedures Performed?

Dental X-Rays are performed using a special panoramic X-Ray machine that moves around your head. For both of our procedures, you will be asked to stand with your face resting on a small shelf or chin guard to provide accurate positioning.

During an OPG, you will be asked to bite gently on a sterile mouth piece that’s attached to the machine. This steadies your head within the chin guard and keeps the top and bottom rows of your teeth separated. Once you are in position, the arm of the machine will rotate around your head but it will not come into contact with you. As the arm rotates, an image of your mouth is collected on an X-Ray film. Because the machine moves in a set path, any movement during this exam will blur the final image. If movement occurs, the procedure may therefore need to be repeated.

The preparation and imaging process is the same for a lat ceph examination, however during the procedure the patient’s chin is not resting against the machine. The resultant image is of the side of your face only.

How to Prepare for a Dental X-Ray:

No preparation is needed for a dental X-Ray and you will not be required to change into a gown. However, you will be asked to remove any jewellery or metallic items from your neck and head area. This is because metal causes an artefact on the X-Ray and
may obscure any abnormalities in your teeth, jaw or mouth. For both our dental procedures, your examination will take around 15 minutes in total.

What to bring to your appointment

When attending for your appointment, you will need to bring the following items with you:

  • your Medicare Card
  • your doctor’s referral form
  • any previous films that are relevant to the procedure (for example, please bring your chest X-Ray films if presenting for a CT chest examination)

For further information

While this information is designed to be as informative as possible, it is very brief in nature and should not replace the advice or guidance of your doctor or preferred healthcare professional.

For more detailed information regarding this procedure, please click on this link. Dental Imaging