Dental X-ray, OPG, i-CAT

Dentists and dental specialists can rely on Lake Imaging to provide patients with the expertise and care they expect and deserve. While we understand that you can provide certain x-ray services at your own practice, you are welcome to refer patients for more advanced imaging, such as OPG, cephalogram, TMJ x-rays or cone beam 3D dental imaging (i-CAT).

OPG – orthopantogram

An OPG examines existing or potential dental disease, such as:

  • Dental caries
  • Advanced periodontal disease such as inflammation or abscess
  • Oral cysts
  • Tumours and oral cancer
  • Impacted teeth
  • Sinusitis and other facial sinus problems
  • Temporo-mandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, and
  • Assessment prior to wisdom teeth extraction.


During OPG

The patients sits in the centre of the OPG machine and the radiographer carefully positions and secures the patient’s head. The machine is adjusted for patient height and a bite-block is place between the teeth to ensure correct alignment.

The patient will be asked to keep very still during the imaging process, while the rotating arm moves in a semicircle around them, which usually takes around 20 seconds.

An OPG x-ray requires no special preparation and the patient can return to normal activities straight after the test.



A cephalogram is a standard x-ray of the bone and soft tissues of the head and face taken in a lateral view, which enables accurate measurements of the facial bones and jaw. As an oral surgeons, orthodontists and prosthodontists, you may request cepalograms prior to planning surgery and manipulation of teeth.

Quite simply, the patient lies on the x-ray table with the head turned to the side, to obtain a side-on (lateral) view.


Temporo-mandibular joint x-ray

Temporo-mandibular joint (TMJ) disorders are medical problems related to the jaw joint, which connects the jaw or mandible to the temporal bone at each side of the head. When we open and close the mouth when talking, chewing, singing or yawning, the jaw condyles glide along the joint socket of the temporal bone. Standard x-rays of the TMJs are taken in the open and closed position for each side. Additional, advanced medical imaging, such as arthrogram or CT might also be needed to fully assess the TMJs.

Dental x-rays are performed at the following Lake Imaging locations:

Please note that Cone Beam CTs are only performed at limited Lake Images locations. Please call Lake Imaging to make request an appointment.


Cone Beam 3D Dental Imaging or I-CAT

i-CAT is specialised x-ray equipment used when regular dental or facial bone x-rays are inadequate. i-CAT delivers 3D images of teeth, soft tissue, nerves and bone in the craniofacial area in a single scan, enabling more precise treatment planning for dental implants and orthodontic treatment, and in neuromuscular and functional dentistry.

i-CAT provides high-resolution 3-D images that demonstrate detailed information of the jaw, teeth, nerves and gums. One advantage for patients is the significantly lower radiation exposure compared with standard CT. South Coast Radiology has i-CAT equipment at our Nerang Street, Southport practice.

i-CAT uses an x-ray beam, in the shape of a cone, which radiates from a gantry that rotates around the head in a complete 360-degree rotation, while capturing multiple images from varying angles. Sophisticated computers use the resultant set of images to create a 3-D reconstruction of the face and jaw.


What to expect

Generally the patient sits or stands for the scan, which takes less than a minute. The patient will be asked to remain very still during the scan to avoid image blurring. The examination is pain-free and the patient can return to normal activities straight away.

If the patient is pregnant or suspects that she may be pregnant, please make a note of this on the request form, so that the radiographer can take proper precautions.

All Lake Imaging radiographers have the necessary qualifications and experience to ensure the best patient care and high-quality x-rays and are accredited and licensed by the Australian Institute of Radiographers.


After the dental x-ray

One of our radiologists will interpret the dental x-ray and provide the dentist or specialist who referred the patient with a comprehensive report about the findings. We will advise the patient to return to the person who referred them to discuss the results.

Processing and reporting of images could take up to two hours. If you are a registered a referrer you can access your patient’s digital x-rays, scans and reports through our secure online archival system, or view the films we provide. For more information about registering to access patient images visit the Request Access to online images section.

Any hardcopy images can be printed out for the patient to take back to their referrer. Reports are delivered within two (2) business days. If the patient needs to be reviewed on the day of the dental x-ray, the patient can wait for the films and we will fax or electric download the results.