Bite-wing X-ray image of teeth.

A Checklist for Scanning X-Ray Films

Scanning the first set of film

  1. Collect a group of films for one patient.
  2. Look at the films. If some are dark and some are light, split them into a dark group and a light group.
  3. If necessary, make a hand-written label with a Sharpie.
  4. Lay the films and label on the scanner and arrange them and some opaque blocking material so that only the films and labels are exposed.
  5. Carefully place the light box face-down on the scanner.
  6. Start the XSane application if it isn't already running. Make sure that you have set your preferences as explained on the page about the XSane software. Remember that you only have to do that once.
  7. Change the save file name to something like the following, adjusting the highlighted portions as appropriate:
    The actual number isn't critical, it doesn't have to be 001, it can be any 3-digit number and XSane will increment that as you go.
  8. Verify the following settings:
    • File type: "by ext", although make sure your file name ends with ".jpg".
    • Scan mode: "Gray"
    • Source medium type: "Full color range"
    • Resolution: 400 for small intraoral films, 200 for large panoramic films.
    • Gamma, brightness, contrast: simply click the Restore enhancement values button, the one with two arrows pointing together, to reset them to zero.
  9. Set the light box dimmer control to 6.
  10. Take a preview image.
  11. Select the region of interest: move the preview's dotted lines to get your films and labels but not more.
  12. Click the Gamma auto-adjust button.
  13. Whatever that did to the gamma value, increase it by 1.0. Watch the preview window as you do this, 1.0 is usually appropriate. Some films, especially panoramic films, may need less gamma correction.
  14. Click Scan. The file will appear on your desktop when the scan is complete.

Scanning the next set of film for the same patient

  1. Remove the light box, exchange the films, and rearrange the blocking material.
  2. Take another preview.
  3. Click the Gamma auto-adjust button.
  4. Whatever that did to the gamma value, increase it by 1.0.
  5. Click Scan.

Changing Between Intraoral and Panoramic Film

Ending One Patient's Films and Moving to the Next Patient

Burning a Set of Scans to CDs

  1. Turn off the light box.
  2. It's your choice, you could do this:
    • Create a new folder on the desktop for each patient, and drag each one's image files into their folder. It would make sense to give the folder the same name as the patient.
    • Use K3b to burn that. I would have K3b view your desktop, that is, /home/yourlogin/Desktop, and then simply drag the patient's folder into the project. That way, after you burn a bunch of CDs, if you lose track of which one is which, all you have to look at is the top-level folder, which will contain just one folder named for the patient.
    Or, you could do this:
    • Simple have K3b view your desktop, that is, /home/yourlogin/Desktop. Add all of each patient's image files to the project. Assuming that the image files have meaningful names, you could look at the CD's contents and figure out whose data it was.

If You Ever Suspect You May Need a Second Copy Later

These pages are specifically about scanning dental X-ray film, but the system and procedures shown here should apply with slight modification to the scanning of many types of film.

There are multiple pages. Read them in order, or jump around: