Panoramic radiography, also called panoramic x-ray, is a two-dimensional (2-D) dental x-ray examination that captures the entire mouth in a single image, including the teeth, upper and lower jaws, surrounding structures and tissues.
The jaw is a curved structure similar to that of a horseshoe. However, the panoramic x-ray produces a flat image of the curved structure. It usually provides details of the bones and teeth.
An x-ray (radiograph) is a noninvasive medical test that helps physicians diagnose and treat medical conditions. Imaging with x-rays involves exposing a part of the body to a small dose of ionizing radiation to produce pictures of the inside of the body. X-rays are the oldest and most frequently used form of medical imaging.
Unlike a traditional intraoral x-ray where the film/x-ray detector is placed inside of the mouth, the film for a panoramic x-ray is contained inside of the machine.