Both intraoral and panoramic x-rays machines have the following exposure factor controls: milliamperage (mA), kilovoltage (kVp) and time. The primary difference between the two types of machines is the control of exposure parameters. Typically, intraoral x-ray units usually have fixed mA and kVp controls while the exposure is altered by adjusting the time for specific intraoral projections. Panoramic x-ray unit exposure is controlled by adjusting complimentary parameters; the exposure time is fixed while the kVp and the mA are adjusted according to patient size, stature and bone density. Although the principles of operation are identical, the exposure control panel is more complex in its format.
Automatic Exposure Control (AEC), a feature of some panoramic x-ray machines, measures the amount of radiation that reaches the image receptor and terminates the preset exposure when the receptor has received the required radiation intensity to produce an acceptable diagnostic image.2,6 AEC serves to adjust the amount of radiation delivered to the patient as well as optimize image contrast and density.
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