Making the Right Digital X-ray Decision


Purchasing a digital x-ray system is an important choice for your practice. Not only is it a major financial investment, but it will seriously impact the day-to-day routine of your practice. A digital radiography system that provides high-quality images, works reliably, is easy to use - and not to mention comfortable for your patients - is going to improve your practice. However, if you don’t do your research to find what’s best for your practice, you may end up with a digital x-ray system that will not only be frustrating to use and cost you time, it could also cause you to lose a few patients! This leads The Bridge Network to ask: why do people rush into this decision and buy whatever their dental supply rep tells them to buy, and in some cases, shoves down their throats? We get a lot of calls from clients in the process of implementing a new digital radiography system and we also get a lot of calls after the implementation is complete. From these conversations we have learned some key Do's and Don’ts about the process:

Do's

  • Understand the important difference between direct (sensor) and indirect (phosphor plate) technologies. This includes quality, speed, ease of use, processing time and costs (both initial and ongoing), just to name a few. You can start by reading an article about this right here on our website.
  • Have some x-rays taken in your office using YOUR x-ray heads. Not all x-ray heads work well with digital radiography and there is only one way to know for sure if yours will.  Don’t just accept your dental reps word that it will work fine since what looks okay to your rep may not be acceptable to you.
  • Check references. A simple step, but one that is overlooked. Digital radiography is so popular now that you will be able to get a number of local references for any system you are looking at. The Bridge Network will often direct its clients to other offices using the system you are interested in.
  • Shop around. Sometimes a particular product is offered through various dealers. Compare prices and, more importantly, compare SERVICE. That x-ray sensor you bought at a great discount won’t do you much good if it can’t be repaired or replaced in an acceptable amount of time.
  • Compare apples to apples. The price includes more than just the hardware. For example, if option A includes a 5-year warranty and option B includes only two years, then find out how much it would cost to upgrade option B to five years and then compare.
  • Check that the system you are purchasing is approved for use in Canada. While it sounds hard to believe, we do have a handful of clients who are sold systems that are not CSA approved!

Don'ts

  • If you have traditionally dealt with a certain dealer for dental supplies, don’t necessarily limit yourself to only the systems they offer. Greater choice is definitely an advantage. We recommend that you have demonstrations on 2-to-3 systems you are interested in.
  • Many packages are sold as a bundle, with software included that you may not need. Don't assume software can’t be removed for a cost savings. Often it can be. The vast majority of our clients use our ChairSide Imaging for their imaging software, so paying for another software system doesn’t make sense. Some systems even actually include the software for free. Usually, this is basic image acquisition software. In this case, it makes sense to keep the free software, along with ChairSide Imaging, as it can come in handy.
  • Don’t purchase any imaging hardware or software before calling your software vendor. They can help answer many of your questions, help you understand your options as well as provide you with referrals to other users using the system. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of misinformation going around the industry (i.e. you must buy this software to work with that hardware). Independent software vendors, like The Bridge Network, can help cut through all that. Here is a link of our digital x-ray integrations with CSI.
  • Software is a very important and integral part to your digital imaging system. Don’t purchase any software that does not offer some type of trial period or money back guarantee.

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