Sunday, February 15, 2015

Xray issues

So...I reluctantly admit to you readers that one of my biggest struggles as a hygienist (and past assistant) has been taking xrays...specifically molar bitewings...and then reading them!  I have always had the hardest time opening up the molar contacts and getting a good, readable xray.  I was so embarrassed by this and to be honest, it would give me a lot of anxiety at work.  I felt so horrible that as a hygienist I was taking horrible xrays!  And not just a hygienist...but someone who has been in the dental field for 10 years!  What was my problem?  Why wasn't I understanding how to do this?  And to top it off, I was even worse at reading the xrays I took!  (looking back, this is understandable when overlap is present - you cannot trust an overlapped xray)  So it was my goal at the end of this past year to fix this problem.  I started YouTubing it and reading articles, looking back through my old radiology book, to figure out where I was going wrong.  I was using the RINN kits (the plastic bite with the circle - its supposed to tell you EXACTLY where to put the xray head right?! WRONG!)  After many hours of researching I knew I just had to start really experimenting and using trial & error as my guide.  Well, I think I have FINALLY figured out the trick to taking a perfect molar bitewing!!  You don't even know how big of a relief this is for me!  I no longer start panicking in my mind when I know my assistant wont be taking my xrays for me (yes, I'm very lucky to have one and they are invaluable to a hygienist!)  So..wanna know my trick?

I have discovered that when you place the RINN bite tab in the mouth for the molar shot, make sure the line on the bite is between the molars

Now have the patient close down, and push the outside circle close to the patients cheek. Now the next step is where the "trick" takes place.  Do NOT line the xray tube flush with the circle.  I ALWAYS overlap when I have the xray tube in this position.  Instead, position your xray tube facing toward the distal of the tooth.  So, line it up with the circle THEN turn the tube to face the distal portion of the tooth.  (I hope this makes sense!!  Wish I had an actual picture of this)  The diagram of the arrow below is the direction I face my tube once I'm ready to take the xray.  Notice how it is not lined up with the circle, but on a diagonal.   

This makes the xray beam go straight through the contacts of the teeth.  You'll notice when you slightly turn the tube that its now parallel with the molars.  And WA-LA!  Seriously...test this theory out.  Other assistants in the office were having trouble too and are now using this "technique" and we are all getting open contacts, every time!  I really hope this helps someone else struggling out there.  I'm not alone in this problem am I!?! I was beginning to feel as if I was...and now I am so much more confident with my xray skills!  Good luck to all of you who struggle.  It just takes some trial & error and lots of practice.  You can obtain a perfect xray consistently! ;-)  It only took me 10 years...