One of the objections I hear often when I’m talking to other dentists about installing digital radiography in their practices is, “Well, I’d like to install it, but I think it’s too much of a change for my team. My hygienists, assistants, and front-office people are used to working with film, and I’m reluctant to ask them to switch.”
Objections such as this, while they have legitimacy for the person voicing them, are holding practices back from taking an important step forward. This objection doesn’t hold up because every dental practice has to take X-rays every working day, and staff members should perform this fundamental job in the most efficient and effective way.
I virtually guarantee them that their dental teams will love digital radiography. Here are the reasons I’m so confident of this:
First, there’s the matter of equipment. Installing digital radiography will enable most practices to eliminate their film X-ray processing equipment and free up at least the counter on which it stood. It can enable many practices to free up an entire room for other purposes, such as storage or a small operatory just for performing adjustments.
In addition, there’s the matter of ease of use with digital radiography. I can only speak from my experience here, but I can tell you that the DEXIS® digital radiography system I installed comes with great support and is easy to use. When the equipment was in place, a qualified dental assistant was available to train us for up to six hours to make sure everything was running correctly, calibrate the system, and answer all of our questions. We only needed her four of the six hours. She explained that her company listens to clients and works to make its digital radiography highly intuitive and easy to use. It resulted in our being able to get running quickly because the user interface is direct and there are no layers of pull-down menus.
It didn’t take long for my team to see the advantages of digital radiography. They quickly discovered how easy it is to use, and they love that they can take a second X-ray immediately if the first one doesn’t turn out. There’s no waiting to process a film X-ray before you can take another picture. They also love that they don’t need to spend substantial time each day standing over a film processor. They appreciate that there’s no more necessity to manually mount film images. They can fully pre-configure how the digital images are mounted on our system so that they automatically come out mounted as we want them to every time, with no intervention from the person taking the X-rays.
It’s not just the dental team in the operatory who benefits from digital. The front desk people benefit, too. When they need to print an X-ray or send one electronically, it’s just a few mouse clicks.
They no longer need to look in file folders to find the right X-ray. Our digital X-rays are properly numbered and catalogued, so even an inexperienced clerical person can learn the system quickly.
You might have to overcome some doubts when you’re talking to your team about installing digital radiography. One of my hygienists was so convinced that digital radiography wouldn’t work in our office that she stowed away an $80 film package in her desk drawer. She was sure she’d need it before long. Before the first day was over, she understood how beneficial digital radiography would be for everyone in the office, and she’s become the biggest booster of our new system. We often laugh when we remember how doubtful she was.
You’re welcome to use the story as you explain to your team just how much better digital radiography will make your professional lives.
Dr. Cynthia Brattesani maintains a private practice in San Francisco. She won the prestigious ADA Golden Apple New Dentist Leadership Award in 1996. She is an enthusiastic member of organized dentistry, having held positions at the local, state, and national levels. You may reach her at [email protected].