Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

Course Number:
DA 120
Course Title:
Dental Radiology I
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:
Special Fee:

Course Description

Introduction to the uses of radiographic images in dentistry, including the history, physical and chemical properties, biological effects and safety principles.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Demonstrate the ability to expose, process and mount a full-mouth set of radiographs taken on a manikin using safe and effective techniques.

Course Activities and Design

This course will be presented in a series of lecture and class discussions followed by a practical application of principles in the laboratory.  Students will practice intraoral radiographic techniques on manikins and student student patients using safe and effective techniques.  Direct instruction is given to complete peer evaluation portion of lab assignments.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

  1. DA 120: Weekly quizzes, assignments, final exam, attendance, professional standards
  2. DA 121: lab practicals, final, attendance, professional standards

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

  • History of radiography
  • Uses in dentistry
  • Physical properties of x-radiation
  • Generation of x-rays
  • Parts of the x-ray machine
  • Use of the manikin
  • Intra-oral film
  • Safety protocols and radiation safety equipment
  • Intra-oral exposure techniques
  • Exposure factors
  • Characteristics of a diagnostic film
  • Darkroom equipment and solutions
  • Manual film processing
  • Exposure and processing errors
  • Mounting x-rays
  • Introduction to radiographic landmarks
  • Record keeping


  • Explain the origins of radiography and discuss the impact on medicine and the people using xrays.
  • Describe the physical properties of x-radiation and how it interacts with matter.
  • Describe the components and processes which generate and control x-radiation.
  • Define the parts of the x-ray machine.
  • Describe the characteristics of a variety of sizes and types of x-ray film including recommended storage methods. 6. Describe and use safety protocols and equipment which are required by law.
  • Explain and demonstrate the paralleling technique of intraoral exposure on a manikin using various types of film holders.
  • Explain the characteristics of a diagnostic dental x-ray and use the correct exposure factors to produce diagnostic films using a manikin.
  • Describe the equipment and solutions found in the darkroom.
  • Describe and demonstrate the steps in film processing, and explain the effects of time and temperature on the quality of the image.
  • Demonstrate the ability to correctly place films in the mount for use in diagnosis.
  • Identify normal radiographic anatomical landmarks and normal oral conditions on film at an introductory level.
  • Identify processing errors and explain how to correct them.
  • Record patient data as required for film identification.

Related Instruction

Hours: 6


Demonstrate the ability to expose, process and mount a full-mouth set of radiographs taken on a manikin using safe and effective techniques.


Describe and demonstrate the Inverse Square Law.  Describe and demonstrate the Maximum Permissible Dose.  Describe and demonstrate the mA's formula for patient radiation exposure.