OPG Orthopantomogram: What It Is and Why It’s Important in Dentistry


Diagnostics imaging is critical in dentistry and Los Gatos orthodontics for accurate diagnosis, precise treatment planning, and thorough monitoring of oral health. Orthopantomogram (OPG) better known as panoramic radiography, is one of the commonly-used imaging methods. This article aims to explain what OPG is and how it works, discuss the use of this type of imaging in dentistry, and explain why it is an essential tool for dental professionals.

What is OPG?

Orthopantomogram OPG is an x-ray with two dimensions that capture a single panoramic look of the maxillary and mandibular arches, including teeth, Temporomandibular Joints TMJ, and other structures. OPG is much better than intraoral radiographic studies which only focus on local areas. However, an OPG captures the complete image of the whole oral cavity.

How does OPG Work?

When taking an OPG, the patient is left to stand or sit while the OPG machine moves around to capture the image. The radiographer will make sure that the patient bites a bite block or places the chin on the chin rest so that the jaws come between the image correctly. The OPG generates a beam-like x-ray on a narrow target, passing through the patient’s head to the receptor on the other side. The receptor will record the image, while the machine’s tube quickly rotates the head, building a series of images that are combined to create a single image.


OPG is very useful for several reasons and is an integral component of dentistry. First, this imaging provides a complete and all-encompassing view of the oral cavity. The benefits also include lower radiation exposure as patients do not need to hold the film or sensor within the mouth to receive the image. That way, OPG is proven not only safer but also more convenient and comfortable for a wide range of patients as children and pregnant women. Finally, OPG imaging is time and cost-efficient in that it can quickly deliver an image of the entire oral cavity. This way, multiple intraoral x-rays can be avoided, not to mention the harm to patients and costs to dental practices.

OPG in Dentistry

OPG in dentistry has a broad range of applications. It is used in assessing dental anatomy is suitable for identifying tooth development and eruption patterns. It is also used to diagnose a myriad of oral and dental issue. Lastly, it is used in assessing orthodontic treatment. OPG is an essential asset in optimal care planning. It enables proper evidence-based interventions for dental pathologies, orthodontics, and orthopedics.