Prior to your first dental appointment obtain a digital PAN x-ray of your mouth (Panoramic x-ray, or now known as Orthopantomogram x-ray). This is vital, so that you can get an overall view of all your teeth and dental work. It can give you an impressive amount of information. Do not neglect this first step.
You should be able to walk into any x-ray department and request this. We recommend you obtain only a digital PAN stored on a CD, as this will become vital for future reference. It will also allow you to e-mail it to dentists when requesting help. Newer facilities have this digital equipment.
NB. Instructions for taking the PAN:
Most technicians will not know the proper way to take a PAN, in order to ensure that no air bubbles are present, which can distort the image. You will need to bite a plastic device between your two front teeth. Ensure that you bite just on the tip of it, so that your front teeth are as close together as possible. This will show how your teeth fit together (occlusion) Keep all partial dentures in your mouth.
Before the PAN begins (the x-ray unit will begin to circle around your head); make certain you take a deep breath in and hold it. At the same time as you breathe in, put your tongue on the roof of your mouth and keep it there for the whole process. This ensures that there is no air movement occurring through your mouth. Air will create a ‘black’ bubble on x-ray and distort the image.