Key Terms for X-ray Equipment

What you need to know to use dental x-ray equipment.

A dentist’s office needs to have dental x-ray equipment in order to reveal problems that cannot be seen by the cursory physical exam. A dental x-ray can also serve as a record for each patient.

When it comes to choosing dental x-ray equipment, there are a wide range of options. Most offices will have a standard x-ray machine and some type of means to develop the film on site. Exams rooms may also be equipped with lighted view boxes to show patients the results of their x-rays.

Here are some key terms you need to know when shopping for dental x-ray equipment:

X-Ray Film

This specific type of film is a material on which x-rays are printed. The film is double-coated with emulsion that is sensitive to radiation for the clearest pictures possible.

X-Ray Cassette

When the dentist is ready to shoot the picture, the x-ray film is held in an x-ray cassette. The cassettes are available in a variety of sizes to fit any x-ray film type.

X-Ray Film Reader

This type of device allows dentists and other medical professionals to view dental films on a video monitor or computer. The reader can read both wet and dry film.


An illuminator or view box is a type of light box to view x-rays. The light shines from behind the x-ray to show the negative areas on the film.

Intraoral X-Ray

This specific device is a type of x-ray machine that offers lower radiation exposure to the patient while still providing dentists with a clear picture. Often an intraoral x-ray is a hand held device for better maneuvering and convenience.


An x-ray apron is a lead-lined apron that protects the patients neck through to their lap. This serves as a barrier between the x-ray radiation and the patient’s body.

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