Panoramic X-rays

Our dentists recommend that everyone have a panoramic x-ray taken every 5-8 years.

You may ask:

  • What is a panoramic x-ray?
  • How is that different than a regular x-ray?
  • What is it for?

Let me explain.

What is a Panoramic X-ray?

panoramic x-ray, radiographA panoramic x-ray, or pan, is an x-ray that shows the dentist your entire jaw, all of your teeth and the structures that surround them.  The dentists are able to see the location of major nerves, your sinuses, developing teeth and pathologies.  They can look at your jaw joint (TMJ) and the bones of your mouth.  A panoramic x-ray is a great overall screen for the health of your mouth.

How is that Different than a Regular X-ray?

Regular intraoral x-rays (the ones you bite on) show 2-6 teeth, depending on the location and type of x-ray being taken.

bitewing x-ray

Bitewing X-ray to look for cavities and monitor bone levels


Bitewing x-rays (the ones we take to check for cavities) only show half of each tooth.







periapical x-ray

Periapical X-ray showing the whole tooth structure



Periapical x-rays show the whole tooth, but only a few teeth are captured here.




The panoramic x-ray shows all of the teeth in one x-ray.  The detail in a panoramic x-ray is not as clear as a bitewing or periapical but is great for showing development, lesions and as an overall health screen.  Bitewings and periapicals will be recommended as well when necessary to check for cavities, bone levels or infections.  Dr. Moreau & Dr. Martin will recommend certain x-rays for specific reasons and are more than happy to discuss this with you.


What is it for?

Let’s talk about specific reasons to take a panoramic x-ray.

We recommend that all of our new patients have a panoramic x-ray done, unless a recent one is available from your previous office.  This allows our dentists to have a baseline of your oral health to compare to in the future, and also allows them to diagnose many dental issues.  After that, and for all other patients in our office, we recommend a panoramic x-ray every 5-8 years, depending on your specific situation.

root canal; panoramic x-ray

We routinely recommend children have a panoramic x-ray between ages 6 and 8 to check that all of their adult teeth are developing properly and in the right position.  This allows our dentists to intervene early if they notice a problem with your child’s developing teeth.  Then around 18 years old, we will take another panoramic x-ray to look at the development of your child’s wisdom teeth.  Many people do not have the space in their mouth to allow the wisdom teeth to come in.  Our dentists want to diagnose that early so we can make recommendations on if and when the wisdom teeth will need to be removed.

For any patient who is considering orthodontic treatment, a panoramic x-ray is needed for planning your treatment. The pan allows the dentists coordinating the orthodontic treatment to properly plan the phases of treatment.  It allows the dentist to see the position and location of your teeth as well as your roots.  Follow up panoramic x-rays are often taken during and after orthodontic treatment to evaluate the progress and final result of the treatment.

Any patient who is having jaw pain should have a pan taken.  It allows the dentist to look at your jaw joint as well as evaluate your mouth for any lesions that may be the source of the pain.

Wisdom teeth are a common source of jaw pain.  The panoramic x-ray will show our dentists if you have any wisdom teeth as well as where they are located.  The pan will allow the dentists to safely plan for the extraction of any wisdom teeth that need to be extracted.  By showing the dentist not only the location and position of the wisdom teeth themselves, but also the location of your mandibular nerve and maxillary sinuses, the panoramic x-ray allows the dentists to evaluate the risks of the surgery and plan accordingly.

Lastly, panoramic x-rays are used to check the bones of your mouth for infections and lesions.  Infections can grow in your bones without you knowing about it, but will show up on a pan.  Lesions such as oral cancer, cysts or other anomalies can be found on a panoramic x-ray that would otherwise go undetected until more advanced.  Routine panoramic x-rays allow our dentists to diagnose these problems hopefully in the early stages so that they can treat you better.

If you have any questions about panoramic x-rays or if you should have one done, please don’t hesitate to ask our dentists at your next visit.


Panoramic X-ray

Panoramic X-ray Machine




Toothbrushes to Cuba


Nicole, our receptionist, handing out toothbrushes in Cuba

During our recent office holiday, Nicole, one of our receptionists, and her husband traveled to Cuba.  She took some of our toothbrushes with her to hand out to local children and adults.  She also bought an assortment of toys, clothes and other items to hand out to people in need.  A big thank you to her and her husband for their generous spirit in thinking of others while away on a tropical vacation.

“My Dentist said I need a crown.  I must be special, right?”

crown dentist



Well, we do think you are special and your teeth are too!


Dr. Robyn Moreau or Dr. Tom Martin probably recommended a crown to protect one of your teeth from breaking.  Or, if you already broke a tooth, to restore it to its proper shape and function.  Crowns are used to protect your root canal treated teeth from breaking and from getting reinfected.  If a tooth is weak from a large filling or has crack lines running through it, a crown can help protect your tooth from breaking.  Crowns are also a great option to change the shape or colour of a tooth that you are not happy with.  Small, misshapen or discoloured teeth can be improved with a porcelain crown in the colour of your choosing.


A crown or “cap” covers over the top and sides of your tooth to protect it.  On your first appointment, we will shape your tooth to get it ready for the crown.  Then we take some impressions of your teeth and make you a temporary plastic crown to cover over your tooth until we see you again.  We send your impressions to a dental lab here in Kelowna to make your crown.  Each crown is custom made by the talented dental technicians for each tooth, taking into consideration form, function, and esthetics.

prep crown porcelain

Model of prepared tooth

When you come back about 2 weeks later for your second appointment, we will remove your temporary crown.  We try your new crown in to make sure it both fits well and looks nice and then permanently cement the crown in place.  Your tooth will now be restored and protected.

Porcelain Crown

Porcelain Crown

Crowns can be made from porcelain or gold.  Some crowns even have porcelain and metal fused together into a Porcelain Fused to Metal crown.  All three types of crowns are good materials, some are just better for some situations then others.  Talk to one of our dentists to find out which option would be best for your situation.

gold crown

Gold Crown

Putting a crown on your tooth helps to protect it from damage, but is not a forever fix.  On average, crowns last about 10 years with proper care.  You will need to brush and floss your new crown just as you would your natural teeth.  As your crown is cemented onto the natural tooth, you can still get decay forming around the edges of the crown if not properly cared for.  Regular x-rays will help us monitor the health of your crown so we can help you maintain healthy teeth.