Dental X-ray, OPG

While your dentist has adequate x-ray equipment to check your teeth for common dental problems, you might be referred to Global Diagnostics for more advanced imaging. A dental x-ray, OPG is an imaging examination that enables your dentist, orthodontist, oral surgeon or prosthodontist or doctor to diagnose and treat medical conditions.

OPG – orthopantogram

Your teeth and gums are supported by the lower jaw and upper maxilla, which are both U-shaped. In order to gain an extended view, engineers developed a clever x-ray machine that moves both the x-ray beam and detector around you in an arc. The resultant x-ray is a panoramic x-ray called an OPG.  An OPG examines existing or potential dental disease, such as:

  • Dental caries
  • Advanced periodontal disease such as inflammation or abscess
  • Oral cysts
  • Bony tumours
  • Impacted teeth
  • Sinusitis and other facial sinus problems
  • Temporo-mandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, and
  • Assessment prior to wisdom teeth extraction.

OPG examinations are performed at the following Global Diagnostics locations:

What to expect

A radiographer will sit you in the centre of the OPG machine and then carefully position and secure your head. The machine is adjusted for your height and a bite-block is placed between your teeth to ensure correct alignment.

You will need to keep very still during the imaging process, while the rotating arm moves in a semicircle around you, which usually takes around 20 seconds. An OPG x-ray requires no special preparation and you can return to normal activities straight after your test.


A cephalogram is a standard x-ray of the bone and soft tissues of the head and face taken in a lateral view, which enables accurate measurements of the facial bones and jaw. Oral surgeons, orthodontists and prosthodontists request cephalograms prior to planning surgery and manipulation of teeth.

The 'Lat Ceph' x-ray is taken using the specialist dental x-ray equipment.  It is a specific x-ray used to demonstrate a base-line position of facial and dental anatomy prior to orthodontic treatment.  It is important to follow the radiographer's instruction for this x-ray so that the x-ray provides the information required.

Temporo-mandibular joint x-ray

Temporo-mandibular joint (TMJ) disorders are medical problems related to the jaw joint, which connects the jaw or mandible to the temporal bone at each side of the head. As you open and close your mouth each time you talk, chew, sing or yawn, your jaw condyles glide along the joint socket of the temporal bone. Standard x-rays of the TMJs are taken in the open and closed position for each side. Additional, advanced medical imaging, such as arthrogram or CT might also be needed to fully assess the TMJs.

Dental x-rays are performed at the following Global Diagnostics locations:

After your dental x-ray

One of our radiologists will interpret your dental x-rays and provide your doctor or dentist with a comprehensive report about the findings. You will need to return to the dental practitioner who referred you to discuss your results.