Note: This page relates nearly exclusively to the handling of radiographic film. As the popularity of digital sensors grows, more and more dentists are abandoning film for computerized images. Many offices, however, are still wedded to film and its processing. Thus, it is still essential that anyone involved in radiographic technique understand this material.
Films must be mounted consistently and correctly. The x-ray mount should have the full name of the patient, the date of exposure, and the name of the person taking the radiographs.
In the standard method of mounting, the raised dot is oriented upward for bite wings and toward the incisal or occlusal edges of all periapicals. This dot is always facing the tube head so if this convention is followed, on the resulting films if the dot is on the right of the film, the film was taken on the patient’s right side, and if the dot is on the left side of the film, the film was taken on the patient’s left side. By orienting the dot toward the occlusal or incisal edge of periapicals the dot will not interfere with periapical anatomy.
When the radiographs are dry, take them with the mount to an area with a view box. Turn all the films so the dots are facing up. Take all maxillary films and group them together. Put the bitewing x-rays to the side. Face all mandibular films (dot still up) with the incisal edges and the occlusal surfaces up and all the maxillary films with the incisal edges and the occlusal surfaces down. Mount the x-rays from the facial aspect (from the outside in) as if you are standing in front of the patient. The films representing the left side of the patient are mounted on your right side.
Sort the anterior films and mount them. Then mount the premolars then the molar views. Mount the bitewing films. Empty frames on the film mount should be blocked with an opaque film blank. Check that the dots are all on the same side and that objects and restorations on the periapicals match the same areas on the bite wings Check the root curvatures to make sure they are all towards the distal. The general curve of the occlusal edges should be upturned at the ends, like a smile.
The most common orientation is with the dot raised (pimple), but some practitioners prefer to view x-rays with the dot oriented downward (dimple). The “correct” way to mount x-rays is according to the direction of the dentist who will be using them.