Digital x-ray virgins

Oct. 22, 2013
I have zero regrets about the transition to digital X-rays, and I still have not seen a better system with a better value.

By Kent Stapley, DMD

For some unidentified reason, my wife and I have gotten hooked on all those real-estate reality shows on HGTV. One of these shows, "Property Virgins," features first-time homebuyers trying to decide if they want to own a home and, if so, what they should buy. Watching this show feels a bit familiar to me because a few short months ago you could have called me a "Digital X-Ray Virgin."

For the last 13 years, I have shared a 12-operatory building and an old X-ray processor with two other Digital X-Ray Virgins. We all thought we were doing pretty well with our film and our chemicals and our temperamental X-ray processor. I am happy to report that my partners and I made our decision, and we are now immensely enjoying the wonderful world of digital imaging.

So why did I wait so long to go digital with my X-rays? I have asked myself this question many times, because I have enjoyed this technology so much since adding it to my practice last August. But as I think about it, I had several reasons that kept me from pulling the plug on my old X-ray processor.

Some of the major concerns were:

  • The sensors I had tried did not seem to be as diagnostic as film and I figured I would just wait for the technology to improve.
  • I also was hoping costs would come down over time.
  • I was concerned I would need better computers with more data storage, and additional monitors. This would mean an even larger price to implement digital X-rays.
  • My patients, who were used to film X-rays, might not like those bulky sensors.

Another roadblock was that my aforementioned partners – with whom I shared a darkroom and X-ray film processor – were not ready to make the move yet either. The list seemed to go on and on.

After doing a good deal of research, the system I finally chose was DentiMax. There were several reasons I chose that company's Dream Sensor. The first was that I found the quality to be amazing, and the price was the lowest I had seen. This made me skeptical. But further research with CRA and other literature helped convince me that this sensor – and its low price – were not too good to be true. I was delighted to find the sensor was highly rated. This, of course, made the sensor an incredible value.

Another reason I chose this system is the open architecture software. This lets me use my current wireless RF Systems intraoral camera in conjunction with the X-ray imaging software and keep my patient photos organized in the same place as the digital X-rays. Another nice feature is that the Dream Sensor is thinner than most other sensors I looked at, and it has rounded corners. These details helped curb my concerns about patient discomfort.

My final concern, of course, was the diagnostic quality of the digital sensor in my office. I had seen the studies and the comparisons, which were all favorable, but what would the X-rays look like on my monitor? DentiMax was especially helpful in extinguishing this concern and let me test the Dream Sensor in my office before I bought it. The company also provided the support I needed to achieve stunningly clear images. This had me diagnosing carious lesions I had missed on previous film X-rays.

I am still in my first year of losing my digital X-ray virginity, and it has been fun to see that patients have responded favorably to the new technology. They have been much more prompt in scheduling appointments because I can now show them exactly what is wrong, and they clearly understand the need for the proposed treatment.

I have zero regrets about the transition to digital X-rays, and I still have not seen a better system with a better value. If you still exist in the realm of digital X-ray virginity, I hope my experience will help you with your move.

Kent W. Stapley, DMD, has practiced general dentistry in Mesa, Ariz., for the past 16 years. Dr. Stapley owns and practices in one dental office, but at one time he owned four offices.

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