Are there any more digital X-ray virgins?

Oct. 15, 2014
Are there any more digital X-ray virgins out there? I have been curious to know the answer to that question since my original "Digital X-ray Virgins" article last October.

by Kent Stapley, DMD

Are there any more digital X-ray virgins out there? I have been curious to know the answer to that question since my original "Digital X-ray Virgins" article last October. The DentiMax digital X-ray software and sensors that I use have elevated and improved my practice so immensely over the past two years that here I am, writing another article on the subject in order to raise awareness that digital X-ray technology is excellent and affordable.

I can't imagine having to go back to the time when I had to wait several minutes for a film to develop, only to then have to lean over to squint and strain my eyes in order to see what I could see. I waited for digital X-ray technology to be better than film and the price to be affordable enough, and when that time finally came, I made my move! I have never regretted my purchase. Quite to the contrary, I can't say enough good things about it.

It's getting to the point that I can't help but compare the X-ray film users to "turn of the century" folks who choose to stay with their horse-n-buggy rather than pick up one of those new gas power vehicles. Yes, they could still travel, but it sure took them a lot longer to do it. Similarly, we as dentists have been doing incredible dentistry for years with those tiny little intraoral film images. However, now that we have the ability to enlarge our images and educate our patients as to what they have going on in their mouths, we are doing a larger volume of dentistry in our practices, and our patients appreciate it more.

I have actually done a little research and found that there are still many of you digital X-ray virgins out there! According to my local Henry Schein representative, approximately 20% of all dental offices still use film. If you happen to practice or work in one of these offices, allow me to provide you with some assistance in your search for the right system:

1. If you are still waiting for prices to go down further, you may be waiting for a long time. Prices have been relatively flat for quite some time now, which leads me to believe that prices aren't going down any time soon.

2. Do not purchase older/cheaper technology in order to save some money. The newer CMOS sensors perform much better than the older CCD sensors. You will not be able to diagnose as well with the older technology.

3. Often you can find much better values from a brand other than one offered by a "big name." I have compared my DentiMax images and software to my neighbor's "big name" system and found my images to more diagnostic. He spent more than double what my complete system cost me, and my sensors are thinner.

4. Look for an "open" software system. For example, I have an RF Systems cordless intraoral camera and a Sirona digital panoramic machine in my office, and they are both able to operate perfectly with my imaging software because it is open. I very much enjoy the fact that I am not "locked in" to any one brand, am free to choose whatever equipment I want, and I know that it will work flawlessly with my imaging software.

5. Be attentive to the shape and size of the sensor itself. Thinner CMOS sensors with rounded and beveled edges make all of the difference for the comfort of your patients.

6. Don't forget about the sensor holders! I use the universal XCP-DS Fit system produced by Rinn. This system was extremely easy for my staff to adjust to because they were already used to the XCP holders, as many offices are.

7. Be sure to have a fool-proof data backup system in place for your practice data. Thirty years down the road, images will still look as good as the day you took them!

I could go on, but space will not allow. Film has been surpassed. It is no longer the standard. It's time to put the buggy away and that horse out to pasture. Find a good digital X-ray system and let that virginity go!

Kent W. Stapley, DMD, has practiced general dentistry in Mesa, Ariz., for over 15 years. Dr. Stapley owns and practices in one dental office, but at one time he owned four offices.

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