What Is OPG?

  • OPG is an x-ray to visualise the teeth and gums.
  • It is used by doctors to identify dental problems and to help decide on treatment.

Reasons For OPG

  • To identify the cause of tooth-ache or swelling of the gums.
  • To identify teeth which are not in alignment.
  • To plan treatment for a cavity in the tooth or surgery of the root of the tooth.
  • To plan for orthodontic treatment.[1]

How Can I Get This Examination Done And Where?

  • The doctor you are seeing will decide if you need the examination.
  • If it is necessary, the doctor will make a request for examination using Request Form For Radiological Examination.
  • This examination is available in selected Ministry of Health hospitals.

Before OPG

  • The radiographer will explain the process and the position that will be required.
  • Please inform the radiographer if you are pregnant or may be pregnant.
  • You will need to remove metallic objects such as hair-clips, earrings and necklace to avoid image artifacts.

During OPG

  • Your name will be called and you will be showed into the examination room.
  • You will be given a lead gown to wear as a protection against scatter radiation.
  • You will be asked to stand near the OPG machine.
  • The radiographer will position you.
  • The radiographer will then make an X-ray exposure to acquire the image.
  • During the X-ray exposure, the X-ray tube will rotate around your head. Please do not move while the machine is moving. The movement will not cause you any harm.

After OPG

  • The radiographer will move you out of the OPG machine.
  • Take out the lead gown.
  • You may leave the department after the examination.
Positioning for OPG All teeth and gums shown

Picture 1: The required positioning and OPG image

Source: www.gendex.com/US/Products/Panoramic-X-ray-Systems/Gendex-GXDP-300.aspx

New Technique

  • New technique for X-ray of the teeth is known as Cone Beam Computed Tomography (CBCT).
  • Images produce by CBCT can be manipulated and post-processed to visualise the teeth and gums from different direction.

Picture 2: Image from CBCT and image of a tooth which has been rotated.

Source: www.reedyforddental.com/cone-beam-referrals.html


  1. Gendex GXDP-300™, Digital Panoramic X-ray System, http://www.gendex.com/US/Products/Panoramic-X-ray-Systems/Gendex-GXDP-300.aspx

  2. Reedyforddental centre, cone beam scanning, http://www.reedyforddental.com/cone-beam-referrals.html

  3. Panaromic Radiograph, 2014, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panoramic_radiograph






Last Reviewed : 5 January 2017
Translator : Daud bin Ismail
Accreditor : Irene Tong Lee Kew