This course provides a comprehensive view of the principles and procedures of radiology as they apply to dentistry. Topics include techniques in exposing, processing, and evaluating radiographs, as well as radiation safety, quality assurance, and legal issues. Upon completion, students should be able to demonstrate proficiency in the production of diagnostically acceptable radiographs using appropriate safety precautions

Prerequisites: Enrollment in the Dental Hygiene program.

Corequisites: None

Class Hours: 2        Lab Hours: 3        Clinical/Work Exp.: 0        Credit Hours: 3


Discuss various aspects of the development of dental radiography.

  • Summarize the importance of dental radiographs.

  • List the uses of dental radiographs.

  • Summarize the discovery of x-radiation.

  • Recognize the pioneers in dental x-radiation and their contributions and discoveries.

  • List the highlights in the development of dental x-ray equipment, film and techniques.

Describe and practice the various aspects of radiation protection.

  • List ways to protect the patient from excess radiation during x-ray exposure.

  • Name the agencies involved in determining requirements for dental x-ray machine.

  • Note the benefits, required amount and method for achieving filtration and collimation for dental x-ray machines.

  • Describe the importance of film handling and processing to limit patient exposure..

  • Discuss and practice all aspects of operator protection, including: personal equipment and monitoring devices.

  • Discuss radiation exposure guidelines including: radiation safety legislation, MPD, MAD and ALARA.

Discuss and demonstrate effective infection control procedures as they relate to dental radiography.

  • Review the rationale for infection control.

  • List three possible routes of disease transmission.

  • Name the conditions that must be present for disease transmission to occur.

  • Review and/or examine new procedures for protective attire and barrier techniques, handwashing and care of hands, sterilization or disinfection of instruments, and the cleaning and disinfection of the dental unit and environmental surfaces.

  • Detail and demonstrate infection control procedures necessary for processing manually or automatically.

Relate various types of dental x-ray film to their utilization, handling and storage.

  • Describe film composition and function of each part.

  • Differentiate the uses of the different types x-ray film used in dentistry.

  • List differing film sizes and their various uses.

  • Relate film speeds with the quality of the radiograph and radiation to the patient.

  • Discuss and demonstrate proper film storage and protection.

Relate the characteristics of radiation to the characteristics of the dental x- ray image.

  • Describe the effect that the kilovoltage peak has on the quality of the x-ray beam.

  • Describe the effect that milliamperage has on the quantity of the x-ray beam.

  • State the rules governing kilovoltage, milliamperage, distance, and exposure time that are used when changing exposure variables.

  • Discuss the factors that influence beam intensity.

  • Calculate an example of radiation intensity using the Inverse Square Law.

Discuss and demonstrate effective techniques for exposing intraoral radiographs with a focus on the paralleling technique.

  • List the three types of intraoral radiographic examinations and describe the purpose and the type of film and technique used for each.

  • View the film holders that can be used with the paralleling technique and why a film holder is necessary.

  • State three basic principle of the paralleling technique and illustrate the placement of the film, film holder, PID, and central ray.

  • State the five basic rules of the shadow casting.

  • List the general diagnostic criteria for intraoral radiographs.

  • List the films that comprise a FMS.

  • Describe the patient and equipment preparations that are necessary prior to using the paralleling technique.

  • Discuss the exposure sequence for FMS.

  • Recognize the need for modifications based on the individual patient.

  • List the advantages and disadvantages of the paralleling technique.

Describe the principles for mounting dental radiographs and demonstrate application of these principles.

  • Recognize a variety of film mounts.

  • List the steps used in the process of film mounting.

  • List and describe the necessary equipment for film viewing.

State the uses of the bitewing examination.

  • Describe the purpose and use of the bite-wing film.

  • List the four film sizes that can be used in the bite-wing examination.

  • Examine film holders that are used with the bite-wing examination.

  • D. State the basic principles of the bite-wing technique.

  • Discuss film placement for bite-wing examinations.

Differentiate a variety of exposure and technique errors and discuss their correction.

  • Identify and describe the appearance of the following film exposure errors: unexposed film, film exposed to light, underexposed film, overexposed film and reversed film.

  • Describe horizontal angulation errors and their correction.

  • Describe vertical angulation and beam alignment errors and their correction.

  • Identify and describe the appearance of the following miscellaneous technique errors: film bending, phalangioma, double exposure, and movement.

Discuss the use of accessory radiographs.

  • Describe the purpose and uses of the occlusal examination.

  • State the purpose of localization techniques.

  • Describe the purpose and technique of the disto-oblique periapical radiograph.

  • Recognize the need for alternative film holders for radiographs.

  • Briefly discuss the bisecting technique.

Discuss various aspects of radiation physics and equipment.

  • Review the structure of the atom.

  • Describe the process of ionization and give two types with examples of each.

  • Compare/contrast radiation and radioactivity.

  • Differentiate the characteristics of electromagnetic radiation.

  • Label the parts of the dental x-ray machine.

  • Label the parts of the x-ray tube.

  • Describe in detail how dental x-rays are produced.

Describe the general characteristics needed by the radiographer to interact with the patient and provide adequate patient education related to dental radiography.

  • Name a variety of communication skills necessary to enhance patient/provider relations.

  • Discuss behaviors that will tend to build trust between the dental professional and the patient.

  • Brainstorm methods of educating patients about dental radiographs.

  • List common patient questions about the need for dental radiographs, x-ray exposure, the safety of dental x-rays, and other miscellaneous concerns.

Discuss and demonstrate methods for taking dental radiographs on patients with special needs.

  • Discuss the gag reflex of patients.

  • Describe common physical disabilities and what modifications in technique may be necessary during the radiographic examination.

  • Describe common developmental disabilities and what modifications in technique may be necessary during the radiographic examination.

  • List helpful hints that can be used when treating a person with a disability.

  • Discuss the pediatric patient.

  • Describe the purposes of the radiographic examination in the edentulous patient.

Discuss various legal issues that relate to the dental radiographer.

  • Name the federal and state regulations affecting the use of dental x-ray equipment.

  • List the licensure/certification requirements for exposing dental radiographs.

  • Define the legal concept of informed consent and demonstrate how it should be obtained from a patient.

  • Discuss the legal significance of the dental record.

  • Describe the legal implications of patient refusal to have dental radiographs exposed.

  • Discuss how confidentiality laws affect the information in the dental record.

  • Describe the patientís rights with regard to the dental record.

Explain the effect of radiation on living tissues.

  • Name two theories of radiation injury.

  • Relate the dose-response curve to radiation injury.

  • Describe the sequence of radiation injury.

  • List five determining factors for radiation in injury.

  • Explore the effects of radiation exposure.

  • Identify the relative sensitivity of a given tissue or organ to x-radiation.

  • Define the units of measurement used in radiation exposure including: exposure, dose and dose equivalent.

  • Discuss risk, risk estimates and benefits of radiation exposure.

Discuss and demonstrate techniques for effective dental x-ray film processing.

  • Describe in detail how the latent image becomes the visible image.

  • List and discuss the five steps of film processing.

  • Name the four basic ingredients of the developer solution and their role in processing.

  • Name the four basic ingredients of the fixer solution and their role in processing.

  • Discuss the location , size, lighting and equipment requirements necessary for the darkroom.

  • Describe the care and maintenance of the processing solution, equipment and equipment accessories used in the various processing techniques.

  • Describe/differentiate the effect on the finished radiograph of the following processing errors: 1) time errors, 2) temperature errors, 3) chemical contamination errors, 4) film handling errors and 5) light errors.

Describe/practice various activities that may be performed to provide quality assurance in the radiographic aspects of the dental office.

  • Develop quality administration procedures and choose quality control tests that should be included in the quality assurance plan for a dental office.

  • Discuss the purpose and frequency of testing dental x-ray machines.

  • Describe the procedures, suggested frequencies and interpretation of tests for the following: 1) fresh film, 2) adequate film-screen contact, 3) darkroom light leaks, 4) proper safelighting, 5) properly functioning automatic processor and 6) strength of the developer solution.

  • Relate operator competence to quality dental radiographs.

Differentiate normal anatomy as it appears on dental radiographs.

  • State the difference between cortical and cancellous bone and identify each on a dental radiograph.

  • Define the general terms that describe prominences, spaces, and depressions in bone and identify similar structures on a radiograph.

  • Identify and describe the normal anatomic landmarks of the maxilla.

  • Identify and describe the normal anatomic landmarks of the mandible.

  • Identify and describe the radiographic appearance of tooth anatomy.

Discuss the purposes and demonstrate the techniques for taking panoramic radiographs.

  • List the uses of the panoramic radiograph.

  • Describe the fundamentals of panoramic radiography.

  • Describe the equipment used in panoramic radiography.

  • Discuss patient preparations, equipment preparations for a panoramic film.

  • List the step-by-step prodder for patient positioning.

  • Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of panoramic radiography.

Discuss extraoral radiography in dentistry.

  • Describe the purpose and uses of extraoral radiography.

  • Describe the equipment used in extraoral radiography and detail the equipment and patient preparations.

  • View patient positioning for various extraoral radiographs.

Discuss digital imaging and demonstrate techniques for taking radiographs with a digital sensor and with phosphor plates.

  • Define key terms associatd with digital imaging.

  • Discuss the fundamentals of digital imaging.

  • Identify the equipment used in digital imaging.

  • Describe the differences among film, sensors and phosphor plates used for radiographs.

  • List and discuss the advantages and disadvantaged of each digital system.

Demonstrate a beginning level of dental radiograph interpretation..

  • Summarize the importance of radiographic interpretation.

  • Define the roles of the dentist and dental auxiliary in the interpretation of dental radiographs.

  • Discuss the difference between interpretation and diagnosis.

  • Discuss radiographic interpretation and patient education and treatment acceptance.

  • Detail the radiographic classification of caries.

  • Detail the radiographic appearance of health periodontium.

  • Detail the radiographic appearance of calculus.

  • Detail the radiographic appearance of various dental restorations.

  • Detail the radiographic appearance of various oral and dental conditions.

Discuss new developments in the field of dental radiography.

  • Describe some of the types of digital radiography equipment that are now available.

  • Compare and contrast the techniques and equipment.

  • List some of the advantages and disadvantages of each.

  • Choose radiographic equipment for a hypothetical dental office and give rationale for each choice.


A Excellent 4 Grade Points Numerical grade of 90 - 100
B Above Average 3 Grade Points Numerical grade of 80 - 89
C Average 2 Grade Points Numerical grade of 70 - 79
D Below Average 1 Grade Point Numerical grade of 60 - 69
F Failed 0 Grade Point Numerical below 60
WP Withdraw Passing 0 Grade Point Issued if the course is dropped after the
census date and on or before the 60% point
of the course unless the instructor issues
a WF based on extenuating circumstances
WF Withdraw Failing 0 Grade Point Issued if the course is dropped after the
60% point of the course or the instructor
chooses based on extenuating circumstances


Regular, prompt attendance is essential for academic success. Students should strive for perfect attendance. It is recognized, however, that students may be absent from class occasionally. Students should reference the instructor's syllabus to determine the attendance requirement for this course. The instructor is responsible for enforcing the attendance requirement. It is the student's responsibility to withdraw from the course. Students may complete the withdrawal process in the Advising Center. Students may receive a grade of WP if they withdraw from a course by the 60% point/date of the course. Any student withdrawals that occur after the 60% point will result in a grade of WF. Exceptions to the "WF" grade may exist if the student has a mitigating circumstance. Students are encouraged to discuss withdrawal options with the faculty member and complete the withdrawal process in the Advising Center.


If you have a documented disability and wish to discuss academic accommodations, please contact Frank Pait, Counselor for Students with Disabilities, at extension 4222, in the Learning Assistance Center (LAC) located on the first floor of the Cuyler A. Dunbar Building (CAD).

If you are a student with a mobility impairment and have a class in a multi-story building, please discuss evacuation plans with your instructor.


Students shall be permitted excused absences from all classes two days per academic year for religious observances required by their faith. The absences requested in accordance with this policy are "one of" and not "in addition to" any absences otherwise permitted by the faculty for a class. The excused absence request must be submitted by the second class meeting and a minimum of two (2) weeks in advance of the absence. Please contact your instructor for the required forms.


Students at CVCC are expected to be honest in all academic pursuits, whether class, lab, shop, or clinical. Acts of academic dishonesty are considered unethical and subject to behavior sanctions. Examples of academic dishonesty include, but are not limited to the following:

1. Sharing information about the content of quizzes, exams, classroom/lab/shop/clinical assignments (scheduled or make-up) without approval of the instructor including but not limited to unauthorized copying, collaboration, or use of notes, books, or other materials when preparing for or completing examinations or other academic assignments (scheduled or make-up).

2. Buying, selling, or otherwise obtaining a copy of a quiz, exams, project, term paper, or like document, without approval of the instructor.

3. Plagiarism, which is defined as the intentional representation of another person's work, words, thoughts, or ideas (from any source) as one's own.

4. Failing to follow approved test taking procedures by performing such acts as:
  • Looking on another student's test
  • Use of unauthorized notes; written, electronic, or otherwise
  • Changing answers after exam is scored
  • Verbal, non-verbal, or electronic communication with another student during an exam

Instructors have the authority to impose either a warning, probation, or dismissal from the class for acts of academic dishonesty relative to classes under their supervision.

Students have an obligation to report any acts of academic dishonesty to the instructor or appropriate campus authority when reasonable grounds exist for such a report. Students also have a responsibility to cooperate in the investigation of any alleged acts of academic dishonesty. Failure to report acts of academic dishonesty could result in a behavior sanction as outlined in the Student Conduct Policy, Policy 3.18


Reporting and Response to Sexual Violence, Sexual or Gender-based Harassment, and Other Sexual Misconduct

"Title IX Violations" is the term that will be used to include "sexual violence, sexual or gender-based harassment, and other sexual misconduct" and is explained further in Procedure 3.18.2. The Procedure can be found on the CVCC Website under About Us/Procedures.

Procedure 3.18.2 applies exclusively to Title IX Violations allegations. All other forms of harassment and/or discrimination are handled under Policy 3.18: Student Code of Conduct.

Students and/or employees are encouraged to report Title IX Violations in any of its forms, including, but not limited to, sexual or gender-based harassment, rape, sexual assault, other forcible and non-forcible sex offenses, domestic or dating violence, or stalking, and CVCC supports this procedure for students and employees in compliance with Title IX legislation.

Any student who believes that he or she is being, or has been subjected to, Title IX Violations is encouraged to file a report of the alleged Title IX Violations promptly with the Title IX Coordinator, Dean for the School of Access, Development, and Success.


To Report a Serious Emergency Dial 911 from any campus phone or 911 from mobile phones; then dial 711 (Campus Safety & Security) from a campus phone.

For specific CVCC emergencies guidelines, please refer to the CVCC Emergency Guidebook


Quickly get all persons behind a locked door, close blinds, lock all windows/doors, and turn off lights. Sit against an interior wall away from windows and doors (hide). Keep cell phones ON in silent mode or vibrate. Do not leave the locked area until notified by a known CVCC administrator or by law enforcement that the emergency is over.

Seek Shelter (tornados, hurricanes, etc.)
Move to hallways and/or other inner rooms. Stay away from windows and doors. Sit on floor facing the inner wall and shield head with hands. Remain in shelter until notified by CVCC administration or by emergency personnel that the danger is over.

Building Evacuation
Leave the building immediately and proceed to a parking lot location at least 300 feet from the building. Do not delay to retrieve books or other personal items. Do not use elevators. Do not touch suspicious objects. Stay clear of the building once outside. Faculty should take class rosters if possible and account for all students at evacuation locations. Report any special assistance needed to CVCC faculty/staff or to emergency personnel. If you are aware or suspect someone is trapped in a threatened building, notify CVCC faculty/staff or emergency personnel. Remain at your building evacuation location until further instructions are provided by CVCC administration or by emergency personnel. In case of bomb threat, avoid using cell phones and wireless devices; this may detonate the bomb.

Smoke, Fire or Hazardous Materials
Activate the nearest fire alarm. Before attempting to fight a fire, notify someone nearby. Never attempt to fight a fire larger than wastebasket size. Close doors and windows to isolate the problem if the situation permits. If trapped in a building during a fire, use wet towels or cloths to protect you from flames and smoke. Stop/drop/roll if your clothes catch on fire. Do not open doors that feel hot. Always stay between the fire and an exit. Stay low to the floor as you try to exit.

Personal Emergencies
Unless you feel threatened, stay with the victim until emergency personnel arrive. Avoid contact with bodily fluids. Stay calm and try to minimize panic. If the person is conscious, ask if he/she is a High School student (if so, include this information in your 911 call).

Emergency Procedures Revised: April 4, 2012

Cell phone backup to 711 Campus Safety & Security:

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