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An OPG is a radiograph that is taken externally and shows a panoramic view of the entire dentition, alveolar bone, and other adjacent structures on a single film.

Reasons for OPG requests

Dental Disease

  • Caries – appear as different shaped areas of radiolucency in the crowns or necks of teeth.
  • Peridontioiditis – when inflammation extends into the underlying alveolar bone and there is a loss of attachment.
  • Periodontal Abscess – Radiolucent area surrounding the roots of the teeth.

Extraction of teeth (e.g. wisdom teeth)

  • OPG shows angulation, shape of roots, size and shape of crown, effect on other teeth.

Teeth Abnormalities

  • E.g. Developmental, to show size, number, shape and position.

Trauma to teeth and facial skeleton

  • Mandible fractures are often bilateral.
  • Panoramic view of mandible to view the fracture.
  • Determine site and direction of fracture lines.
  • Relationship of teeth to fracture lines.
  • Alignment of bone fragments after healing.
  • Evidence of infection or other complications post intervention.
  • Follow up to assess healing.

Transplant workup

  • To look for evidence of any underlying dental disease (e.g. abscess)
  • Patients on steroids after a transplant are immunosuppressed and the mouth is a common site of infection.
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