1: The radiographic image

The radiographic image


The use of X-rays is an integral part of clinical dentistry, with some form of radiographic examination necessary on the majority of patients. As a result, radiographs are often referred to as the clinician’s main diagnostic aid.

The range of knowledge of dental radiography and radiology thus required can be divided conveniently into four main sections:

Understanding the radiographic image is central to the entire subject. This chapter provides an introduction to the nature of this image and to some of the factors that affect its quality and perception.

Nature of the radiographic image

Traditionally the image was produced by the X-rays passing through an object (the patient) and interacting with the photographic emulsion on a film, which resulted in blackening of the film. Film is gradually being replaced by a variety of digital sensors with the image being created in a computer. Those parts of the digital sensor that have been hit by X-rays appear black in the computer-generated image. The extent to which the emulsion or the computer-generated image is blackened depends on the number of X-rays reaching the film or the sensor (either device can be referred to as an image receptor), which in turn depends on the density of the object.

However the final image is captured, it can be described as a two-dimensional picture made up of a variety of black, white and grey superimposed shadows and is thus sometimes referred to as a shadowgraph (see Fig. 1.1).

Understanding the nature of the shadowgraph and interpreting the information contained within it requires a knowledge of:

The radiographic shadows

The amount the X-ray beam is stopped (attenuated) by an object determines the radiodensity of the shadows:

The final shadow density of any object is thus affected by:

The effect of different materials, different thicknesses/densities, different shapes and different X-ray beam intensities on the radiographic image shadows is shown in Figs 1.21.5.

The limitations imposed by a two-dimensional image and superimposition

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Jan 12, 2015 | Posted by in Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology | Comments Off on 1: The radiographic image

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