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The panoramic dental radiograph for emergency physicians
  1. Anton Sklavos1,
  2. Daniel Beteramia1,
  3. Seth Navinda Delpachitra1,
  4. Ricky Kumar1,2
  1. 1 Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Royal Dental Hospital of Melbourne, Carlton, Victoria, Australia
  2. 2 Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Anton Sklavos, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Royal Dental Hospital of Melbourne, Cartlon VIC 3053, Australia; antonsklavos{at}


Dental emergencies are common reasons for presenting to hospital emergency departments. Here, we discuss the panoramic radiograph (orthopantomogram (OPG, OPT) as a diagnostic tool for the assessment of mandibular trauma and odontogenic infections. In this article, we review the radiographic principles of image acquisition, and how to conduct a systematic interpretation of represented maxillofacial anatomy. The aim is to equip the emergency physician with the skills to use the OPG radiograph when available, and to rapidly assess the image to expedite patient management. Included is a discussion of a number of cases seen in the emergency setting and some common errors in diagnosis.

  • maxillo-facial
  • imaging
  • X-ray
  • trauma
  • infection

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  • Contributors AS, SND, DB and RK all contributed to the text, ideas, algorithm and case discussion in the text.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.