Tooth decay can be sneaky – it doesn’t tend to show signs of its presence early on. X-rays are an important diagnostic tool that allow you to confirm if decay is present. Spotting it early means your dentist can deal with the problem before it becomes significant.
Anyone over 30 will remember a time before digital. The main reason people are moving to digital with x-ray processing is time.
With analogue x-ray processing, you had a big box in the corner of the clinic (they can be quite small now) where you would reach inside the glove box and process the image plates using wet film processing technique:
Dip the film in Developer solution and agitate to develop the image.
Rinse the film in water to remove the Developer solution.
Dip the film in Fixer solution and agitate to chemically remove the unexposed silver halide on the films surface.
Rinse the film to remove the Fixer solution.
These units have fantastic image quality. However, they are very technique driven. If you got one wrong, you would need to take another shot and the total processing time would take, on average, 5 minutes per shot. You had no way of emailing them to colleagues/specialists without a costly scanner. They are also notoriously messy and bulky. All this before you even consider the handling and storage of mildly hazardous and environmentally detrimental chemicals.
The alternative to the analogue system is the hybrid digital phosphor plate systems.
Phosphor plate systems replicate the analogue system with different size plates, which are of a similar size so they don’t feel too different for the patient. The plates are affordable and the scanners (PPS units) can be very easy to use. They can connect directly to your network and fit seamlessly into your current patient management system, thus reducing time in manually scanning or doubling up on entering patient details.
PPS units are also great for everyday use and for clinics that have multiple surgeries as they are small, affordable and multiple rooms can access them at once.
Sensors have fantastic image qualities and are super-fast. We are talking a matter of seconds from when you take the shot to it coming up on your computer screen!
They are portable and usually have a simple USB connection to connect to any computer system. The sensor alone can cost less than a phosphor plate scanner, without the ongoing cost of plates and sleeves!
Precision, readability, adaptability: decisive advantages with an extremely high definition >16~20lp/mm, you'll be able detect the smallest flaws in roots, apices and implants. Best of all, if your practice software speaks/uses TWAIN, a digital x-ray sensor will integrate seamlessly, without the need for additional software.
HDR 500-600 USB digital x-ray
The HDR 500-600 USB sensor is a direct USB intra-oral sensor that plugs directly into a PC. The sensor is easy to move between rooms and is comfortable for the patient due to its ergonomic design.
With extremely high definition of >16~20lp/mm and quipped with fibre-coupled CMOS technology, the HDR 500-600 USB sensor offers clear, high contrast images, free from the scatter and blur you'd experience with a phosphor plate system.
Thanks to its direct USB connection, the sensor is very easy to use in a single or multi workstation set-up. The 3 metre cable affords greater flexibility of installation, regardless of the layout of your practice.
Although, you'd be using a barrier sleeve, the sensor is completely water-tight allowing a complete choice of disinfection methods. It's suitable for spraying, dipping and more.
The HDR 500-600 is under $5000 and highly versatile.
So which is right for me?
Sensors are great for specialists looking for fast and high-quality images or if you have a single operator surgery. For every day, general dentistry the PPS system will tick most of your boxes.
Even in a busy, general dental clinic there is room for both sensor and PPS system. From implants to endodontic work and major reconstruction work, the sensor has its place.