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Does This Appear to Be a Deviated Septum? (photo)

I've had some minor breathing issues (especially any time my nose is congested I can barely breathe). I had dental X-rays taken and saw that my septum area looks uneven. Is this normal or could it be deviated?

Doctor Answers (5)

Its very hard to diagnose a deviated septum from a dental X-Ray


To properly diagnose a deviated septum, you should see a nasal specialist such as an Otolaryngologist (ENT). Often a devaited septum can be the cause but there are other causes for nsal congestion as well. If an X-Ray is necessary, the best one would be  a CT Scan. But that should follow an exam by a doctor and possible medical treatment first.

New York Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 34 reviews

Does This Appear to Be a Deviated Septum?


The best way to determine the reason for your breathing issues is to have a Facial Plastic Surgeon or ENT look inside your nose. They will also review the dynamics or your airway and determine whether the nasal tissues collapse with breathing. A panorex is helpful to look at your teeth and bones but does not reveal much useful information about your airway or the specific cause of your nasal breathing problems. I hope this information is helpful.

Stephen Weber MD, FACS

Stephen Weber, MD, FACS
Denver Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 34 reviews

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Deviated Septum


Dear Chloe 625, a panorex is not as reliable a tool for diagnosing a deviated septum as a clinical exam.  Minor breathing issues and nasal congestion during times of allergy or viral illness are very common and not diagnostic of a septal deviation.  Minor septal deviations are very common and do not require treatment.

Stephen Prendiville, MD
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Deviated septum


Hello 'Chloe625', thanks for your question.  Airway obstruction is fairly common and can be due to any of a large number of factors.  Some of these causes include simple allergies to pollen or dust, leading to swelling of the nasal mucosal lining, anatomic deviated septum, post-traumatic nasal fractures, post-rhinoplasty stigmata with deficient cartilaginous support, and chronic sinusitis, just to name a few.  It is difficult to say for certain which of these is the culprit in your particular case without a thorough history of your issues and physical examination.  In addition, the best imaging study to evaluate your nasal anatomy would be a CT scan.  Unfortunately, an X-ray study does not provide the detail necessary to evaluate your nasal septum, especially a dental panorex film that you have obtained.  If you are concerned about your breathing, especially if there are additional cosmetic changes you are looking to make (such as a dorsal hump reduction or bulbous tip refinement), I would recommend consulting with a board-certified plastic surgeon who can perform a thorough examination and go through the options with you.  Hope that helps! -Dr.92660


Parviz Goshtasby, MD, FACS
Newport Beach Plastic Surgeon
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These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.