PRODUCTION OF DENTAL RADIOGRAPHS
Section I. INTRODUCTION
A diagnostic radiograph is vitally important for most procedures in dentistry. A
high level of skill and training is required of the dental specialist. The production of
suitable diagnostic radiographs requires knowledge of the anatomical characteristics of
the oral cavity and the relationship between individual teeth (refer to Subcourse
MD0501). It also requires knowledge of types of dental film, appropriate exposure and
processing techniques, and use of darkroom equipment.
GENERAL EXPOSURE FACTORS
Each type of dental film requires a specific exposure time and technique to obtain
satisfactory radiographs. The exposure depends upon the type of emulsion, the density
of the tissues to be radiographed, the target-film distance, and the characteristics of the
exposing rays. X-ray units are designed to provide exacting control of voltage,
amperage, and exposure time. Satisfactory results are best achieved by carefully
following the film manufacturer's instructions.
DENTAL RADIOGRAPHIC FILM
Dental radiographic film is supplied in various sizes and degrees of sensitivity,
each designed for a specific purpose. Film should be stored in a cool, dry place free
from chemical contamination. High temperatures, moisture, and certain chemicals will
cause deterioration of the film's emulsion. Dispensers made of radiopaque metal are
commonly used to provide a limited stock of periapical films. Lead-lined boxes are
available for storage and protection of film used in the dental clinic (see figure 3-1). An
expiration date is stamped on each film package by the manufacturer. Film should not
be overstocked, but maintained in quantities that will be used before the expiration date.