Q: A developed dental x-ray film seems lighter than usual. What could have caused that?
radiology dental hygiene board review

Q: A developed dental x-ray film seems lighter than usual. What could have caused that?

radiology dental hygiene board review

Q: A developed dental x-ray film seems lighter than usual. What could have caused that?

(A). Cold developing solution
(B). Hot developing solution
(C). Patient movement
(D). Shorter than usual rinsing time

  • Longer developing time and higher developer temperature creates images that are darker than usual.
  • Shorter developing time and exhausted developer solution create the opposite, a lighter than usual image.
  • Light leak causes film fog.
  • Patient movement results in blu
  • Shorter than usual rinsing time can create a yellow/brown film.

Answer: A. Cold developing solution

Wake Up Memory Technique (WMT) for the dental hygiene boards

I ask my students to think about the process of baking a cake and apply it to film processing in the developer. Here is what I mean:

  • High temperature: If the oven is at 500° rather than the recommended 300°, the cake will burn -> If the developer temperature is too high, the film will be darker than usual.
  • Low temperature: If the oven is at 200° rather than the recommended 300°, the cake will be underbaked and pale -> If the developer temperature is too low, the developed film will appear lighter than usual.
  • Longer developing time: If you leave the cake to bake for 2 hours rather than the recommended 1 hour, you will get a dark and burnt cake -> If the film is left in the developer too long, the film will be darker than usual.
  • Shorter developing time: If you leave the cake to bake for 30 minutes rather than the recommended 1 hour, you will get an underbaked and pale cake -> If the film is left in the developer for less than desired time, the film will be lighter than usual.

I hope that this little trick can help you remember some errors associated with the film processing. The reality in the dental world is that digital radiography is replacing film. But the NBDHE, NDHCE, and CSCE written dental hygiene exams will still have questions related to film processing. So, make sure to review (everything about) film radiography, whether it is with StudentRDH or other review tools.

If you want to continue with StudentRDH radiology chapter, click here.

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Written by
Claire Jeong, RDH, MS
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