History of Dental Radiology

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HISTORY OF X-RAY IN DENTISTRY História dos raios X em Odontologia Judit Forrai CSc. DDS, Department of History of Medicine Semmelweis University of Budapest, Hungary, e-mail: forjud@net.sote.hu Professor Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen (1845-1923) was working at Wuerzburg University in Germany. Working with a cathode-ray tube in his laboratory, Roentgen observed a fluorescent glow of crystals on a table near his tube. The tube that Roentgen was working with consisted of a glass envelope with positive a
  HISTORY OF X-RAY IN DENTISTRY  História dos raios X em Odontologia   Judit Forrai CSc. DDS, Department of History of Medicine Semmelweis University of Budapest, Hungary, e-mail: forjud@net.sote.hu Professor Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen (1845-1923) was working at Wuerzburg University inGermany. Working with a cathode-ray tube in his laboratory, Roentgen observed a fluorescent glow of crystals on a table near his tube. The tube that Roentgen was working with consisted of a glass envelope with positive and negative electrodes encapsulated in it. On November 8 th , 1895, he was conducting experiments in his laboratory on the effects of cathode rays. The air in the tube was evacuated, and whena high voltage was applied, the tube produced a fluorescent glow. The new type of ray was being emittedfrom the tube. Roentgen shielded the tube with heavy black paper, and discovered a green colouredfluorescent light generated by a material located a few feet away from the tube. At the first time heinvestigated his hand, and he surprised to see his hand bones. It was the beginnings of the new investigate picture form inside, without cutting and open the body.Roentgen’s discovery was to open up an exciting field for doctors. It was now possible to usethis new form of radiation in the study of the human body. Broken bones, for example, could now belooked at by using the rays to see straight through flesh. Roentgen decided to call them like an unknown-ray. exact x-rays. A month after his discovery he held a public display featuring the very first x-ray pictures – one’s of his wife’s hand (Figure 1). The news of this amazing breakthrough caused a majorstir in the medical and scientific communities. The news had soon travelled around the world. Doctorssoon picked up on the beneficial uses of the x-ray photography and were quick in using them to diagnosehealth complaints. In Germany the process was known for it’s discoverer – Roentgen (Figure 2). Discovery of new radio-activities Shortly after the discovery of X-rays, another form of penetrating rays was discovered. In 1896,French scientist Henri Becquerel discovered natural radioactivity. Many scientists of the period were working with cathode rays, and other scientists were gathering evidence on the theory that the atom couldbe subdivided. Some of the new research showed that certain types of atoms disintegrate by themselves. It was Henri Becquerel who discovered this phenomenon while investigating the properties of fluorescentminerals. Becquerel was researching the principles of fluorescence, wherein certain minerals glow (fluoresce) when exposed to sunlight. He utilized photographic plates to record this fluorescence. Becquerel continuedto test samples of uranium compounds and determined that the source of radiation was the element uranium. Rev. Clín. Pesq. Odontol. 2007 set/dez;3(3):205-211  206 Bacquerel’s discovery was, unlike that of the X-rays, virtually unnoticed by laymen and scientistsalike. Relatively few scientists were interested inBecquerel’s findings. It was not until the discovery of radium by the Curies two years later that interestin radioactivity became widespread. While working in France at the time of Becquerel’s discovery, Polish scientist Marie Curiebecame very interested in his work. She suspectedthat a uranium ore known as pitchblende containedother radioactive elements. Marie and her husband,the French scientist Pierre Curie, started looking forthese other elements. In 1898, the Curies discoveredanother radioactive element in pitchblende, andnamed it Polonium  in honour of Marie Curie’s nativehomeland. Later that year the Curies discoveredanother radioactive element which they named Radium  , or shining element. Both polonium andradium were more radioactive than uranium. Sincethese discoveries, many other radioactive elementshave been discovered or produced. Roentgen’s discovery was a scientific bombshell 1896 on Saturday 28 December Roentgensubmitted his manuscript to the secretary of thePhysical-Medical Society in Wuerzburg. On Tuesday, 31 st December he received the off-prints which he sent together with nine X-rays and New  Year greetings to his colleagues by mail. Withinthe area of Wuerzburg, Roentgen submitted hisannouncements personally. It was his friend,Professor Franz Exner (1849-1926), the directorof the II. Physical-Chemical Institution of theuniversity in Vienna who was one of his very firstaddressees. Exner and Roentgen had beenacquainted since their academic days in Zurich.Both had been assistants to Professor AugustKundt. On the occasion of a discussion evening on Saturday, 4th January 1986, Exner showed theX-rays which had been taken by Roentgen to hisassistants. One of the present people, Ernst Lecher,at that time professor of physics at the GermanUniversity in Prague and thereafter in Vienna, inBudapest, informed his father, who was then theeditor of Vienna’s daily newspaper “The Press”onthe performance of Exner that very evening. Andin the same night, the first article was written on X-rays and published in „The Press” on Sunday, 5th January, under the headline „A SensationalDiscovery”. Apart from the physical facts thepossible development of these new rays wasdescribed in a prophetic manner. FIGURE 1 -Roengen’s presentation on the discovery of X Ray   Judit ForraiRev. Clín. Pesq. Odontol. 2007 set/dez;3(3):205-211  207  The news spread with the speed of lightening (Figure 3). Shortly afterwards an article was published in the “Frankfurter Zeitung” in“the Electrical Engineer”, New York in the“Wuerzburger Anzeiger”in “The Electrician”,London in “Lancet” and “British Medical Journal”in “Le Matin”, Paris in “Nature”, London and in“Times”, New York in “Science”, New York andin “La Settimana”, Florence. Due to the world- wide telegraphic communication of thesensational news, Roentgen received already aninquiry from the American physician Robert Watkins from New York as early as on 8th January requesting him to send some radiographs. FIGURE 2 -Roengen’s museumFIGURE 3 - Dr. Heller´s presentation on Rontgen´s rays History of x-ray in Dentistry Rev. Clín. Pesq. Odontol. 2007 set/dez;3(3):205-211  208 Roentgen and the dentistry Even dentists very quickly recognisedthe diagnostic advantage for their own specialmedical field. Especially in dental surgery,significant progress was achieved through the new possibilities of a radiological examination. 14 dayslater the publication of Roentgen, Dr. Otto Walkhoff in Braunschweig made the first pictureof the teeth (Figure 4a,b). Walkhoff asked thephysicist, professor Giesel in Braunschweig, totake an X-ray of his back teeth. Small pieces werecut from the commercial plates and subsequently again wrapped light-proof. Walkhoff received thefirst intraoral X-ray after an exposure time of some25 minutes. In his report “ it was a true torture, but I  felt a great joy at the sight of the results when I become aware of the importance of the Roentgen rays for dentistry  .”In addition to the torture of the long exposure timeone also had to accept other inconveniences suchas the loss of hair, for instance.Some time later, the physicist, professor Walter Koenig (1859-1936) also published theradiograph of front teeth in upper and lower jaw along with 14 photographs with X-rays. at thePhysical Society of Frankfort. It was published inMarch under the title: “14 Photographien mitRöntgen-Strahlen von Prof W. König” andpublished by S.A. Bart, Leipzig in 1896.Koenig emphasises that ‘... the X-rays of the teeth are not only able to prove the position and the form of the fillings in the teeth but we are also able to examine parts of the teeth which are sticking into the jaw bones  ...’Schaeffer and Stuckert and more recently Streller described the Professor König’s apparatusresponsable for the important reduction in timeexposure for 5 minutes. With the tubes of Crookesand Hittorf the cathodic beam spread on a straightline, perpendicular to the plan of the surface of the cathode, and runs into the opposite wall of the tube of glass. The results is a heating of theglass which softens the tube and makes difficultthe maintenance of precise pressure. FIGURE 4a - Dr. Walkhoff´s first dental radiograpy FIGURE 4b - Dr. Otto Walkhoff   Judit ForraiRev. Clín. Pesq. Odontol. 2007 set/dez;3(3):205-211
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