Going Digital: A Potentially Difficult Decision Made Easy
P atients don?t always like radiographs. Notwithstanding the current catastrophe in Japan, the public has always been concerned about radiation. The media feeds these fears and unfortunately, dental x-rays are lumped into the broader category of medical x-rays.
While there is certainly concern about too much radiation in general, our patients should be comforted in knowing that dental radiographs are probably the safest a patient will be exposed to in both dosage and exposure time.
I decided to go digital many years ago primarily to reduce exposure time and for better diagnostic quality image.
Once I made the decision to ?go digital? I had 2 choices: sensors or phosphor plates. Both have their own distinct advantages and disadvantages that can easily create a dilemma. I was primarily concerned about ease of use, conversion, and patient comfort. I wanted both my staff and my patients to easily accept this new technology. After trying many different sensors, I felt they were uncomfortable and subject to breakage. Consequently, I chose the ScanX phosphor plate system (Air Techniques), a decision I have never regretted.
This was, by far, the easiest transition I?ve experienced. The plates, in their sterile holders, are not bulky and ?felt? like film to my patients. The staff likes it because of the short learning curve and easy adaptation to current conventional film. While sensors do provide images more quickly (we?re talking seconds here), the time needed to process a ScanX plate is minimal and certainly less than conventional film? and no chemicals. Phosphor plates are re-usable (about 600 images per plate) and far less expensive than sensors.
Image quality is the same for both sensors and phosphor plates. I?ve found that image quality depends more on the software that ?reads? the image, than whether you are using a sensor or a phosphor plate. Again, versatility of image manipulation is a by-product of the imaging software.
Safe, Simple, and Easy
Patients love being able to see their x-rays regardless of whether they truly understand what they are seeing. But with a 19? monitor it is easy for me to show patients decay, calculus, periapical pathology, etc. For me, diagnosis is easier with a larger image. And then there are the benefits of archiving images and electronic transmission to third party carriers or specialists.
Digital dilemma? No more. ScanX has made it safe, simple, and easy for both the dentist and the patient.