Which way is up? Navigating dental radiography orientation
Once you’ve taken your dental radiographs, its important to orient yourself to the image, in order to confirm which tooth you’re looking at. While many digital radiography platforms allow you to select the tooth you’re imaging and the have the software label which tooth is shown, being able to visually figure it out is an important skill. Here are some quick tips from Mary Berg, RVT, VTS (dentistry) on figuring out which way is up in dental imaging.
> Rotate your image if needed, but never flip it. If you flip the radiograph, it becomes difficult to know which side was the original.
> Keep a skull or model handy to refer back to when interpreting images.
> In maxillary view remember, “crowns point down” and think about which way the dog’s nose is pointed to help you determine which side you’re viewing.
> On the mandibular shot, crowns should always point up, and thinking about where the nose would be will help you again.
> When looking at a radiograph that only has the incisors shown, “become one with the sensor and the X-ray tube head,” Berg says. The sensor will always be placed so the cord exits through the front of the mouth, and if you remember that, then you can orient to the right and left sides.
> Another tip for the incisor only shot? If you place a paperclip or periodontal probe on the sensor, it will show up on the image and give you something to use to orient yourself, but, Berg says, always place it on the same side of the sensor.