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September 21, 1979

Medical Uses of the Orthopantomogram

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Radiology, Northwestern University Medical School, Chicago.

JAMA. 1979;242(12):1295-1296. doi:10.1001/jama.1979.03300120049028

ORTHOPANTOMOGRAPHY is a roentgenographic technique allowing examination of the entire dentoalveolar region on a single film. It is used primarily as a rapid screening examination to show the general anatomic relationships of the maxilla, mandible, and adjacent structures. Although dental films provide much finer detail, the orthopantomogram is a simple, rapid, and comfortable examination that can provide useful information on a wide variety of pathological processes with less cost and radiation exposure than the conventional full-mouth periapical series.1 The orthopantomogram is obtained with the patient standing or sitting with the alveolar ridge parallel to the floor. Only a single exposure is required, during which the x-ray tube makes a sweep about the patient's head.

Although a wide variety of lesions can be well demonstrated by this examination, appreciation of its uses has been largely limited to those in dentistry and oral surgery. Medical uses of the orthopantomogram are numerous