Panoramic Radiograph Errors + How to correct them
radiology, panoramic radiograph errors, dental hygiene exam prep

Panoramic Radiograph Errors + How to correct them


As a dental professional, you already know about the panoramic radiographic errors and you probably have seen many of them at work. StudentRDH dental hygieneexam prep solution is here to give you a summary of the most common panoramic radiographic errors and how to correct them.

We will leave the textbooks and StudentRDH dental assisting exam prep online courses to explain the science of panoramic radiographs. Today, let’s focus on the summary. We all have a busy schedule and we need a quick way to master our “errors” to become the #starDH (who secretly rules the dental office).

Note: In case you want to start the FREE trial with StudentRDH, click here.

Panoramic radiograph allows the clinician to properly diagnose caries, diseases, fractures, TMJ disorders, bone health, and growth patterns. According to research, about 90% of panoramic images were presented with errors while only about 10% were error free. The top 3 errors are as follows:

  • Tongue not touching the palate during exposure
  • Chin positioned too far forward or back
  • No side identification

Here is a summary of the most important panoramic radiographic errors and instructions on how to correct them.

radiology, panoramic radiograph errors, dental hygiene exam prep

Type: YouTube + StudentRDH

Watch the videos, understand the concepts, and PASS the exams!

Get this summary, as a chart, in your email. This can be a quick reference!

Now, can you answer this question?

1. Which of the following is NOT true about patient positioning for a panoramic exposure?

  1. The chin should be tilted down slightly
  2. The patient should bend the back slightly
  3. The patient should hold onto the handles and lean back
  4. The mid-sagittal plane should be perpendicular to the floor

Answer: (B). The patient should bend the back slightly

  • When taking a panoramic radiographic image, it is important to position the patient so that all the oral structures stay within the focal through.
  • The patient should not bend the back. He/she should always be standing straight. Slumping will result in a panoramic error that shows a straight opacity in the middle of the image (Washington Monument).
  • The chin should be slightly tilted down (not too far down, as that would result in an exaggerated smile).
  • The patient should hold onto the handles, lean back, and have the mid-sagittal plane perpendicular to the floor.

NOTE: errors with radiographs should be reviewed very carefully.

Claire Jeong, RDH, BS, MS, is an educator and entrepreneur. She founded StudentRDH and SmarterDA, which offer dental hygiene and dental assisting exam review courses of the highest quality through the latest technology. According to some students, studying is now “addicting.” Claire was invited on various podcasts to speak about memory techniques and learning efficacy, topics she also promotes through articles, speeches, e-books, and blogs. Claire has a Master’s Degree in Administration from Boston University and a Dental Hygiene Degree from Forsyth School of Dental Hygiene in Boston.

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(Disclaimer: StudentRDH is NOT affiliated with the NBDHE, NDHCE, CSCE, CDCA, WREB.)

Written by
Claire Jeong, RDH, MS

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