Object position and image magnification in dental panoramic radiography: A theoretical analysis

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    Objectives: The purpose of our study was to investigate how image magnification and distortion in dental panoramic radiography are influenced by object size and position for a small round object such as a ball bearing used for calibration. Methods: Two ball bearings (2.5mm and 6mm in diameter) were placed at approximately the same position between the teeth of a plastic skull and radiographed 21 times. The skull was replaced each time. Their images were measured by software using edge detection and ellipse-fitting algorithms. Using a standard definition of magnification, equations were derived to enable an object's magnification to be determined from its position and vice versa knowing the diameter and machine parameters. Results: The average magnification of the 2.5mm ball bearing was 1.292 (0.0445) horizontally and 1.257 (0.0067) vertically with a mean ratio of 1.028 (0.0322); standard deviations are in parentheses. The figures for the 6mm ball bearing were 1.286 (0.0068), 1.255 (0.0018) and 1.025 (0.0061), respectively. Derived positions of each ball bearing from magnification were more consistent horizontally than vertically. There was less variation in either direction for the 6mm ball bearing than the 2.5mm one. Conclusions: Automatic measurement of image size resulted in less variation in vertical magnification values than horizontal. There are only certain positions in the focal trough that achieve zero distortion. Object location can be determined from its diameter, measured magnification and machine parameters. The 6mm diameter ball bearing is preferable to the 2.5mm one for more reliable magnification measurement and position determination.© 2013 The British Institute of Radiology.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number29951683
    JournalDentomaxillofacial Radiology
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2013


    • Dental panoramic tomography
    • Image distortion
    • Magnification


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