An X-ray machine is very expensive. Do
everything possible to keep it in good working order by
following the user maintenance procedures contained
in the manufacturer's instructions.
General user maintenance includes dusting the
X-ray machine daily, and removing blood and debris
from all surfaces using a cloth moistened with
detergent solution. Follow disinfection procedures
discussed later in the chapter.
NOTE: DO NOT use a wet cloth; moisture might
enter the control panel causing an electrical short
circuit that could cause severe damage to the machine
and possible harm to the operator. DO NOT use
cleaners or solvents.
Never attempt to repair the X-ray machine
yourself. If it breaks down, report it to your supervisor.
All repairs are the responsibility of the dental
equipment repair technician.
Intraoral radiographs are made with the X-ray film
placed inside the patients mouth. There are three types
of intraoral radiographic examinations: periapical
examination, interproximal (bitewing), and the
To ensure diagnostic quality radiographs, you must
properly align the X-ray film, the area to be X-rayed,
and the tube head cylinder of the X-ray machine.
Alignment can be accomplished by using either the
parallel film placement technique (preferred method)
or the bisecting angle technique. The following
discussion provides detailed information on how to
take periapical and interproximal (bitewing)
radiographs, using both techniques. For the occlusal
examination, you will use only the bisecting angle
The X-ray films used for intraoral examinations
differ in size, depending on the type of examination.
Figure 1-5 compares the sizes of periapical,
interproximal (bitewing), and occlusal film.
There are different speeds of film. The most
commonly used is an ultraspeed film known as D speed
film. Ektaspeed (or E speed) film requires less
radiation per exposure than D speed film. Some
commands are now using E speed film. The exposure
Figure 1-5.Intraoral X-ray film.
times given in the following sections are for D speed
Intraoral film comes in film packets, with a
lightproof and waterproof outer wrapper. Inside the
wrapper, the film is sandwiched between black
protective paper and backed with lead foil. Figure 1-6
shows a partially unwrapped periapical film.
Intraoral film can be ordered through normal
supply channels. It must be stored in a cool, dry area. In
very hot or damp climates, the film should be
refrigerated. Never store it near steam lines or
radiators, and never store it near film processing
Figure 1-6.Partially unwrapped periapical film.