ADAA View Course

Dental Radiographic Pitfalls and Errors (AGD 730)

Presenter: Original Authors: Wilhemina Leeuw, MS, CDA and Allan G. Farman, BDS, EdS, MBA, PhD; Revised 2016 and 2019 by Deborah Vernon, CDA

Operator error is responsible for the majority of retakes of dental radiographs. An undiagnostic radiograph is worse than no radiograph at all due to the increased radiation to the patient. Operator error can occur while either exposing or processing films, and is due to using incorrect or improper techniques. A quality assurance routine for exposing and processing films using correct technique and maintenance of equipment is critical to maximize the information obtained from dental radiographs while minimizing patient radiation exposure.


Revised 2016 and 2019 by Deborah Vernon, CDA
Deborah Vernon, CDA
Deborah Vernon is a graduate of a CODA approved dental assisting program at Northern Virginia Community College and DANB CDA certified since 1984. She has worked in a variety of private practices, group specialty practices, and state corrections as the Virginia Department of Corrections Quality Assurance Certified Dental Assistant.

Ms. Vernon has served as the DANB and ADAA representative to VADOC, and currently serves on the Advisory Committee for Nursing and Health Technologies at Germanna Community College and the Board of the Virginia Dental Assistants Association along with serving on the Council on Education and Professional Development of the American Dental Assistants Association.

Original Authors:
Wilhemina Leeuw, MS, CDA is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Dental Education at Indiana University Purdue University, Fort Wayne.  A DANB Certified Dental Assistant since 1985, she worked in private practice more than twelve years before beginning her teaching career in the Dental Assisting Program at IPFW.  She is very active in her local and Indiana state dental assisting organizations.  Prof. Leeuw’s educational background includes dental assisting - both clinical and office management, and she received her Master’s degree in Organizational Leadership and Supervision.  .

Allan G. Farman, BDS, EdS, MBA, PhD
• Diplomate, American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology.
• Professor of Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology


Upon completion of this course, the dental professional should be able to:

• Recognize exposure, processing, and handling errors and pitfalls in intraoral radiography.
• Recognize exposure, processing, and handling errors and pitfalls in panoramic radiography.
• Identify remedies to correct errors.
• Understand the basic errors possible in digital radiography.
• Understand the basics of a quality assurance program.


The ADAA has an obligation to disseminate knowledge in the field of dentistry.  Sponsorship of a continuing education program by the ADAA does not necessarily imply endorsement of a particular philosophy, product or technique.

The ADAA cautions participants taking this course on the hazards of using limited knowledge when integrating new techniques into their practices.

Credits earned upon completion of the course may be used to meet DANB’s Recertification Requirements.


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