Dental Radiology ProgramChesapeake, VA
Dental assistants are often required to work in radiology, performing tasks such as taking X-rays and 3D imaging. Our students learn the operation and use of radiography equipment, along with training in the overall process. Through this program, they will be equipped and experienced in handling equipment, understand the terminology associated with the equipment, and be well versed in easing patients’ discomfort.
The radiology program at Dental Assistant Teaching Academy provides students with first-hand knowledge and training in radiography. Through completion of the program, students can claim their capability in working with radiography and imaging equipment to expand their skills and qualifications. To learn more about a procedure or schedule an appointment, call 757-204-2114 today.
Types of Radiology Equipment
As part of the radiology program, students learn terminology associated with radiography equipment and how to operate them. There are four types of dental radiology equipment, including:
- Intraoral X-ray Sensors: digital devices that capture bitewings, FMX series, and other intraoral images, requiring much less radiation than their film counterparts.
- Digital Panoramic X-rays: Many of today’s digital dental X-ray machines for panoramic imaging include additional features like extraoral bitewings and TMJ projections, designed to enhance practice efficiency and streamline diagnoses.
- Dental Cone Beam Systems: Cone beam computed tomography, or CBCT imaging, allows practitioners and their patients to have the most comprehensive view of the anatomy with 3D imaging to aid in the diagnosis, treatment planning, and communicating with the patient.
- Phosphor Plate X-ray Systems: Allows practices to use film equipment without upgrading to digital dental X-ray machines. Instead, they use reusable plates to capture images, feed the plates into a machine that makes them digital, then wipe the plate clean to be used on the next scan.
We teach and train on both intraoral and extraoral radiography equipment. Intraoral X-rays help dental professionals to see inside the mouth, while extraoral images help to detect problems outside the mouth, such as the jaw. Students will learn how to handle and operate traditional and digital X-ray machines and imaging devices.
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To safely handle and operate equipment, students must first learn equipment terminology and proper angle positioning for taking images. Radiology equipment includes X-ray generating equipment, required to produce X-rays, Image receptors, required to detect the X-rays, and Image processing (computer), required to produce the visual black, white, and grey image.
X-ray generating equipment consists of a tubehead, positioning arms, control panel, and circuitry. They may be attached to a wall, floor, or ceiling, portable (attached to a machine with wheels to be moved around the room), or handheld. Image receptors detect the images taken and may be either radiographic (film) or digital (solid-state sensors and phosphor plates). Lastly, an image processing device, such as a computer, is needed to translate the captured images into a digital representation.
Treatments That Require Radiology
The main reason for radiography in dentistry is for check-ups and diagnoses. Dentists will likely take X-rays every six months in a patient’s bi-annual oral exam. This allows them to see all of their teeth, gums, and underlying bone to determine whether any treatments are necessary.
Dental X-rays are performed for a variety of reasons and for various treatments. According to the University of Michigan Health, X-rays help to find problems in the mouth, such as cavities, dental injuries, and damage to the bones that support the teeth. They also provide an image of the development of teeth (growing abnormally, too crowded, or impacted). They allow dentists to locate cysts, tumors, or abscesses (pockets of infection in the gums). Lastly, they provide a guideline for patients’ treatment plans entailing root canals, cavities, extractions, teeth-straightening, dental implants, and dentures.
Easing Patient Discomfort
Training students in the proper placement, positioning, and operation of radiography allows them to become accustomed to handling the equipment. They are much more aware of the parts and purpose of the equipment. In turn, their precision gives them the confidence to operate the equipment safely and carefully.
Using this knowledge and experience, our students are more equipped to ease patients’ comfort by explaining the process and where they are moving in the mouth. They can inform the patient of each film or sensor before placement, what it does, and how it will help. Lastly, they can determine the most comfortable positioning and type of X-ray to use depending on the patient’s age and comfort level.
Our radiology program includes an internship of 16 hours on site. Students will learn to operate and expose intraoral and extraoral radiograph machines and be able to operate an intraoral video and camera. The intraoral radiograph machines we use focus on the periapicals and bitewings, and the extraoral radiograph machines include Panorex, CT scans, and 3D imaging.
With 16 hours of training and experience, students will be able to take X-rays and 3D images of their friends, family, and peers in a real dental office. This experience will serve them in both looking for a job and during the job. Our students have excelled in their various positions, having hands-on training and education in radiology, as well as other aspects of dental assisting.
Schedule a Visit Today
The radiology program is available at our office. Dental Assistant Teaching Academy looks forward to meeting you and helping you achieve your dream. Call our office at 757-204-2114 to learn more or schedule an appointment.
Frequently Asked Questions About Dental Radiology
What is dental radiology?
Dental radiology is the practice of using and interpreting dental X-rays and other forms of radiography. Radiographs are used to diagnose and treat many oral health issues and find hidden dental structures, malignant or benign masses, bone loss, and cavities.
What types of radiographs are used in dentistry?
There are three main types of dental radiographs: periapical (also known as intraoral or wall-mounted), panoramic, and cephalometric. Periapical X-rays are the most common and capture the teeth, gums, and bone. Panoramic X-rays capture the entire mouth, including the jaw. Cephalometric X-rays capture images of the entire head, usually in profile view, to capture jaw and misalignment issues.
How long does it take to become a dental radiologist?
Radiologists have their own career paths and may choose to be certified through a certification program, Master’s degree program, or PhD program. The length of time it takes depends on the credentials one is seeking. Certificate programs take between two and two-and-a-half years, Master’s programs are three years, and PhD programs are about five years, give or take.
Are dental X-rays safe for radiologists?
X-ray radiation is not safe for anyone, especially in excess. Radiologists generally leave the room when taking X-rays or must wear radiation-blocking uniforms if the device or machine are inside the room.
How often will patients need X-rays?
Although it is best to avoid X-rays and radiation as much as possible, it is important that children and teens with a history of cavities and decay get checked every six to 12 months. Those with healthy, well-developed teeth may only need X-rays every 12 to 24 months. The dentist will likely recommend the least amount of radiation needed depending on your oral status.
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