Troubleshooting dental radiography (Proceedings)
Nov 01, 2010
CVC IN SAN DIEGO PROCEEDINGS
Ideally, a full survey set of radiographs should be taken on all patients annually. This survey consists of six views, however on larger animals additional views may be required. Realistically, however, most clinics don't take full survey series. Radiographs should be taken when following problems are present: periodontal disease, endodontic disease, FORL's, draining tracts, trauma, oral masses, dental abnormalities and pre, intra and post surgical evaluations.
Dental radiograph units are relatively inexpensive. They are low maintenance and the film and chemicals are inexpensive. You can check with dental supply companies and purchase used units very reasonably. Medical radiograph machines can be used but are inconvenient and they do not show the detail necessary to make a definitive diagnosis. Dental radiograph units allow for accurate positioning without having to move the patient. They are compact, maneuverable, have limited settings and less radiation scatter. The settings for kVp and MA are pr]eset, leaving exposure time as the only adjustable setting.
Chairside darkrooms are available that are inexpensive, provide rapid results and are easy to use. It is possible to purchase an automatic processor that is dental x-ray specific but they can be expensive. Holder clips are used to hold the film as you develop to avoid fingerprints. Light boxes with a magnifying lens are important to read the films.
Dental films come in four sizes with the most common sizes being 2 & 4. The film has a bubble on the upper left hand corner. This bubble should always be placed toward x-ray beam and towards to caudal aspect of the oral cavity to aid in orientation of the film. The film has multiple layers that include the white plastic outer layer, a silver lead layer, a paper layer and the film.
Dental radiographs need to be labeled, however due to the small size, the use of radio opaque markers or permanent markers may interfere with the radiographs. Cardboard or plastic holders are available that have space to label the radiographs. These holders can then be placed in the patient file or a specific storage cabinet. Envelopes and slide holders also maybe used successfully. I have found using a plastic business card holder that can be placed in a 3-ring binder are very useful for storing film size number 0, 1 & 2. A similar holder used for baseball cards works well for number 4 films.
A full radiographic survey will include 6 radiographs; anterior maxilla, anterior mandible, posterior maxilla (left & right), posterior mandible (left & right). There may need to be a need for additional views for specific teeth or in larger animals.
There are two intraoral radiograph techniques commonly utilized in veterinary dentistry. The simplest is the parallel technique and as luck would have it, it can be used for the fewest views. The parallel technique is used for the posterior mandible. This view will include the molars and caudal premolars. The film beam is placed at a 90 degree angle to the film, which has been placed on the lingual surface of the teeth.
The other technique is the bisecting angle. The bisecting angle is used to minimize distortions of the teeth. The bisecting angle is used for the anterior teeth, maxilla and mandible, the posterior maxilla teeth. In this technique the beam is aimed at the imaginary line bisecting the plane of the tooth and the plane of the film.