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Anatomy for Dental Students$
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Martin E. Atkinson

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199234462

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199234462.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 21 January 2022

Radiological anatomy of the oral cavity

Radiological anatomy of the oral cavity

(p.320) 31 Radiological anatomy of the oral cavity
Anatomy for Dental Students

Martin E. Atkinson

Oxford University Press

The radiographs most frequently taken in general dental practice are of the teeth and their immidiate supporting tissues for detection of dental caries or assessment of bone loss in periodontal disease. Intraoral radiographs are taken by placing the X-ray-sensitive film or receptor in the mouth close to the teeth being investigated. Extraoral radiographs use larger films or receptors positioned externally and produce a view of the entire dentition and its supporting structures on a single film; they are used to ascertain the state of development of the dentitions prior to orthodontic treatment, for example. Dental panoramic tomographs (DPTs) are the most frequent extraoral radiographs. A radiograph is a negative photographic record. Dense structures such as bone are designated as radio-opaque; they absorb some X-rays and appear white on radiographs. More X-rays pass through less dense radiolucent structures such as air-filled cavities which show up as black areas. The contrast between different tissues of the structures which the X-ray beam passes through is determined by their radiodensity which, in turn, is largely due to their content of metallic elements. Calcium and iron are the prevalent heavy metals in the body. Calcium is combined with phosphate to form hydroxyapatite crystals in bones and mineralized tissues in teeth. Iron is present in haemoglobin in blood, but only large concentrations of blood, such as those found within the heart chambers, show up on X-rays. In sequence from densest to most lucent, the radiodensity of the dental and periodontal tissues are: enamel, dentine, cementum, compact bone, cancellous bone, demineralized carious enamel and dentine, dental soft tissues such as pulp and periodontal ligament, and air; gold and silver–mercury amalgam metallic restorative materials are even denser than enamel. A radiograph is a two-dimensional representation of a three-dimensional situation. The orientation of anatomical structures relative to the X-ray beam is a major factor determining their appearance on the film. For example, a beam travelling through the long axis of a radiodense structure will produce a whiter image on the film than one passing through its shorter axis because more X-rays are absorbed; the structure will also have a different shape.

Keywords:   bitewing radiographs, extraoral radiographs, genial tubercles, hard palate, incisive foramen, lamina dura, maxillary sinus, nasal cavity, occlusal radiographs

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