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?
Does This Appear to Be a Deviated Septum? (photo)
Doctor Answers (5)
A deviated septum diagnosed with a CAT scan
A dental x-ray is not sufficient x-ray to diagnose a deviated septum. Physical examination and a CAT scan of the sinuses would determine whether or not there is a deviated nasal septum. There are other causes of nasal obstruction including hypertrophic turbinates and valve collapse which must be addressed time of the examination by an ENT or facial plastic surgeon.
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.
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
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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.
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