How to obtain the best dental radiographs
Improve your dental radiography technique with this guide for taking both standard and digital radiographs.
Oct 01, 2007
Dental radiographs provide practitioners with a tremendous amount of information. The most important thing you can do to increase the quality of dental care in your practice is to use dental radiography when evaluating patients presented for routine dental care or dental problems. In addition, the AAHA Dental Care Guidelines for Dogs and Cats state that preoperative and postoperative dental radiographs are mandated for all extractions.1 Furthermore, standard radiographic views of the skull are inadequate, and full-mouth dental radiographs are an essential step in dental cleaning and are necessary for accurate oral evaluation and diagnosis.
In this article, I'll provide information to help you avoid common dental radiography errors and to perfect your dental radiography techniques by reviewing the basics of positioning, exposure, and development, including how to capture hard-to-image teeth in dogs and cats.
THE RIGHT PLACEMENT, THE RIGHT TIMINGTo obtain a diagnostic radiograph, it is crucial to get the patient, film, and beam head in just the right position and set the correct amount of X-ray exposure. Follow this systematic approach.
Step 1: Patient positioning
The first step in creating high-quality dental images is to ensure correct patient positioning.2-6 Sand bags, V-shaped troughs or holders, and other implements will aid in stability and patient placement. Make sure the area of interest is appropriately positioned in the radiographic beam. Except in rare instances, the object or tooth to be radiographed is positioned on the up side. To help you determine the bisecting angles, position the patient as follows:
Once an operator is proficient in visualizing the correct bisecting angle, several maxillary images can be obtained with the patient in lateral recumbency, which avoids repositioning the patient numerous times during procedures.
Step 2: Film placement
Film placement in veterinary dentistry can be challenging because of the anatomy of the tooth roots and the inability to see the roots. Correct film placement minimizes retakes.