A new artifact!! – In life of a dental radiograph
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Attached in the post are intraoral peri-apical radiographs taken for different regions and for varied dental pathologies. An interesting finding in the radiographs was an unusual radiolucent appearance of a tree-like pattern along with brown stain.

It was learnt that these radiographs were collected from the old undergraduate record books from the department of oral medicine and radiology. The radiographs might have been 1- or 2-year old. Bisecting angle technique was used followed by automatic method of film processing for all the radiographs. Later, films were attached in the record books with the help of a stapler pin along with the film packet.

Some of the radiographs revealed an ovoid/pear-shaped yellowish to brown spots on the radiographs. This spot on the film coincided and was in contact with the stapler pin. From one end of this pear-shaped spot their appeared a tree-like pattern on these radiographs.

This pattern was similar to the appearance of static electricity. But, in all the radiographs, the pattern was evident in contact with the brown spot (which was in contact with the stapler pin). It was almost of uniform size in all the radiographs. Also, all the radiographs had overall brown stains on the film. The tree-like pattern was visible on the surface of the film that corresponded to the stapler pin.

Literature revealed that this type of artifact is not reported so far in the English literature, although the classic-tree like pattern resembled the artifact due to static electricity. Friction in handling the films is said to be the main cause. The other descriptive names are “lightnings,” or “Blitze,” “woolly worms,” “spiders,” and “trees” on radiographs. The reason for this typical presentation is still not known. The authors presume that it could be a new type of artifact resulting probably due to static electricity.

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