Dental Practice Technology: 66% of Dentists Use Digital X-rays

digital xraysDigital technology has reached the dentist’s office. According to Yale School of Medicine, 10 to 30% of dentists have abandoned film for digital X-rays.

When we asked dentists if they use use digital x-rays, 66% said yes. Only 34% reported that they still use film.

“Digital x-rays have improved dentistry so much. I can’t imagine going back to the old way of developing x-rays. It has allowed doctors to diagnose a patient when they are away from the office,” said one periodontist.

“Couldn’t live without digital,” offered another.

A great investment –

“Possibly the best investment I have made in my practice.” (Kentucky dentist)

“One of my best purchases. I’ve been digital over 4 years.” (Florida dentist)

“We implemented digital about a decade ago and would never go back.” (South Carolina dentist)

“One of the most cost-effective things I’ve done. I have been digital since 2000.” (California dentist)

“Yes, who in this day and age doesn’t? It is SO inexpensive compared to what I paid over 10 years ago to do it, that it is a “no-brainer” to do. PLUS the savings in chemicals, processor maintenance, employee time to do these non-essential weekly maintenance jobs, making duplicates for Insurance etc. just makes going digital a “slam dunk” decision! This is why, once I purchased it, I realized these benefits and then lectured on going digital.” (Illinois dentist)

“It’s wonderful! Less radiation the patient and staff is exposed to and the ability to manipulate the images.” (Florida hygienist)

“Higher diagnosable image versus film, no fixer, developer, film, mounts cost, lower patient and ambient radiation levels — truly a no-brainer!” (North Dakota dentist)

Too expensive for some –

“Very expensive to fully implement.” (Missouri dentist)

“Digital has improved greatly, but I am not interested in the investment at this late stage of practice.” (Indiana dentist)

“I would love to have a digital pan/ceph, but at $44K, I’ll have to pass for now.” (Oklahoma dentist)

“Too expensive!” (Nevada dentist)

“I am 67 years old in a month or so and it is hard to spend that much money.” (California dentist)

“Way too costly!” (Massachusetts dentist)

Sensors can be an issue –

“Sensors are too @#*&! expensive!” (Mississippi dentist)

“The technology finally meets or exceeds the quality of film radiology — but with some drawbacks. The cost for the sensors and viewing equipment is very high, compared to the same film-based radiology. The bitewing views are not fully closed-mouth as bitewings done with films, because of the sensor cords. And the sensors have some limitations of placement freedom due to their rigidity and thickness compared to the relative patient comfort with films.” (California dentist)

“Since no sensor has been declared superior, I believe buyers need to evaluate the software. How many ‘clicks’ needed to go through the fmx, to modify contrast/brightness for diagnosing and making notes? You should be able to do this quickly ‘on the fly’ as the patient hears you review their x-rays. The right-click menu and simple keyboard shortcuts should be available so you don’t have to mouse all over the place for everything. I also believe software using the “template” paradigm of x-ray sets is a throwback to the past and is not good use of computer power.” (Illinois dentist)

“They have to make the sensors either less expensive or more durable.” (California dentist)

Dentists Weigh In on the Dental X-ray and Brain Tumor Debate

More Dentists Weigh In on the Dental X-ray and Brain Tumor DebateGiven the recent negative publicity surrounding dental X-rays and brain tumors, our recent The Wealthy Dentist survey covered whether dental practices will change how they use X-rays.

We asked:

“According to a recent study, dental X-rays may be linked with brain tumors. Will this news change how your practice uses X-rays?”

Here’s how dentists responded:

  • 66%: Definitely no!
  • 25%: Not at this point, although this study has led us to consider it.
  • 9%: Yes, we will be changing our X-ray protocols.

Two thirds of dentists debated the validity of the data. Urban dentists over rural dentists were the most vocal about their skepticism in this survey.

“This study is highly flawed. The number of cancers per population is so small. You could die from an abscess more than your chance of getting this cancer. I read there are 5000 cancers per 350 million people?”

But some dentists did take the X-ray study into consideration —

“We will take this opportunity to reinforce our office position as an industry leader in all phases of patient safety.” (General dentist)

“It’s quite possible, some correlation between brain tumors and old ways to take X-rays. Let’s don’t forget we went from regular films to high speed to a digital generation decreasing every time the amount of radiation.” (Florida dentist)

“We use digital X-rays and take updated X-rays only when necessary.” (Ohio dentist)

“We are using digital radiographs and feel that we do everything possible to minimize unnecessary exposure.” (Texas dentist)

“I believe we have to make the right choices for our patients: how often – how many medical conditions. We also have to look at our society and what devices we use on a regular basis: cell phones, microwaves, electric blankets, TVs, air plane flights, not to mention our landfills loaded with hazardous materials. With technology comes risks but also life-saving devices and techniques.” (Massachusetts dentist)

“We decided on digital films prior to this announcement.” (General dentist)

IF the study is correct, it will certainly affect the number of radiographs a dentist will record.” (Pediatric dentist)

“We’ve been doing the 18 mos to 2 yrs for many years. Only a select few of our dental patients require more frequent radiographic diagnosis.” (Arizona dentist)

“Further thoughts, yes, on this study that was flawed in concept.” (Oklahoma dentist)

“I’ve used a digital sensor for over a dozen years and have always been ultra-conservative in ordering X-rays based on the dental patient’s current and past oral conditions, not on a fixed timetable.” (Illinois dentist)

“We already stretch the limits on our X-rays and consider the history of the patient in doing so.” (California dentist)

“We are empowering our clinical team with information so that they may respond to concerns from patients. We also posted our rebuttal on our Website and Facebook page. We preform x-rays annually and/or on as needed basis.” (West Virginia dentist)

“Should always practice conservatively and limit taking dental (or chest) X-rays to the minimum at all times. I do not agree with taking X-rays ROUTINELY. (California dentist)

251 dentists responded to this survey by The Wealthy Dentist. To hear what the more agitated dentists had to say about the dental X-ray and brain tumor debate, see last week’s article, Dentists React To Dental X-ray Brain Tumor Study as Flawed Science.

What are your thoughts on the dental X-ray and brain cancer debate?

Two Surprising Reasons Dentists Like Digital X-rays (Dental Survey)

Digital x-raysDental management decisions to purchase new technology like digital x-ray equipment can be difficult to make.

If older equipment still functions well and patients are happy, why replace it? The decision is tougher if you’re losing patients to competitors with high-tech dental offices.

We wanted to see how dentists are responding to the newest advancements in digital radiography.  In the process, we uncovered some surprising results about why dentists like digital x-rays.

But first, we’ll  give you the predictable results —   71% of the dentists who participated in our survey use digital x-rays, and 17% plan to convert.

“We have been using digital x-rays since 2003 and have been very happy with them. I feel that digital x-rays should be considered the standard of care in dental imaging by now!” Ohio prosthodontist

Only 12% said they’ll continue to use traditional film x-rays indefinitely, with no plans to change.

A Georgia dentist explained his reason simply as, “I don’t like digital x-rays.”

Even a few dentists who use digital x-rays gave them mixed reviews, mostly due to their high cost:

“Sensors and software do not cost that much to produce. What a mark up!!!!” California dentist

Patients perceive us as current and up to date. The digital receptor , unlike other electrical pieces of electrical equipment has not come down in price since its inception. It would seem to me that there is collusion among the manufacturers and distributors to artificially keep prices up. This has probably deterred some practitioners from buying them.” California dentist

Digital x-rays are more convenient and efficient . I like the speed and efficiency but I don’t believe that the diagnostic quality is any better. Also, with the cost of yearly support, computer upgrades, and insurance for the sensor I don’t think there is any cost savings.” Oregon dentist

We also asked the dentists who have already made the switch what they like most about digital radiography.

Lower long-term costs, better diagnostic images, and cleaner, faster processing were mentioned.

“It is so convenient to email x-rays to referrals and insurance companies (encrypted, of course).” Texas dentist

“It’s been 14 years now! Don’t miss film and processors at all!” Colorado dentist

“Clean and fast–no developing time and no chemicals!” Texas orthodontist

However, the factors that topped the popularity list are a surprise.

What do dentists like most about digital x-rays?

  • They’re eco-friendly (create less toxic waste).
  • They’re healthier for patients and staff.

Those are also two effective patient-focused talking-points to use in your dental marketing campaigns!

Science Friday: New Dental Imaging Software Helps with Dental Implant Treatment

Science Friday: New Dental Imaging Software Helps with Dental Implant TreatmentImaging Sciences International has announced the release of Tx STUDIO software for advanced 3D dental implant treatment and more.

This powerful software integration now creates the opportunity for general dentists and specialists alike to take advantage of i-CAT’s award-winning 3D imaging with comprehensive treatment planning tools for dental implants, airway, TMD, orthodontics, and a myriad of surgical procedures.

It is the only software to be bundled with a CBCT system that does everything from diagnostics to implant and orthodontic treatment planning, according to the iCat website.

Designed by clinicians for clinicians, Tx STUDIO delivers uniquely comprehensive tools covering treatments from implants to orthodontics. With its wide selection of treatment-planning features, Tx STUDIO is an excellent addition to i-CAT cone beam 3D systems which are known for their unparalleled clinical and dose control, as well as the industry’s fastest workflow.

With Tx STUDIO, implant, abutment, and restoration planning is simple, fast, and precise. The new abutment and restoration design feature allows dentists to plan an entire treatment, from the surgical placement of the implant and the abutment to the final restoration at the onset of planning.

Featuring an expanded implant library, single or multiple dental implants can be quickly placed in the 3D rendering or onto the panoramic layout. Scans are compatible with all major surgical guide systems; surgical guides from Anatomage can be conveniently ordered directly through the Tx STUDIO software.

For orthodontics, in addition to the included anchor pin library for virtual TAD placement, Tx STUDIO provides an optional 3D Cephalometric Analysis package which allows for the creation of ceph tracings with greater accuracy and in less time than traditional 2D ceph tracings. Also included in this package is the new face-MATCH photo-wrapping feature that allows easy and immediate wrapping of a facial photo taken with a standard digital camera onto the 3D volume.

Other optional services through this powerful software include AnatoModel which can provide virtual study models in occlusion that contain the full dentition— crowns, roots, and bone, and tools to predict soft tissue changes derived from orthodontic or surgical treatments.

Built into Tx STUDIO is a powerful application for airway analysis that allows for instant measurement of total airway volume, localization and area measurements of maximum constriction, and automatic color-coded constriction values of the airway volume.

The airway analysis tools benefit general dentists and specialists who treat sleep apnea or other airway disorders through dental procedures ranging from orthodontics to surgery to splints.2 TMJ visualization tools that allow for superimposition of changes to the TMJ complex over time are included in Tx STUDIO.

Through superimposition, changes in condylar position can be tracked over the course of a treatment to ensure treatment plans are having the desired effect.

The Diagnostic Reports Tool option allows for fast and efficient communication between health care providers. This new tool is optimized for power and speed, and is based on easy-tocreate templates that can be customized for the office. Knowing that clinicians seek ways to present dental plans to their patients, Tx STUDIO offers full 3D visualization.

Dental patients gain understanding of their anatomy, conditions, and treatment options as these come to life using 3D renderings. The software even allows video capture to further enhance patient education even after the appointment is over. Also, advanced annotation capabilities, such as custom labeling and layout displays, provide excellent tools for a dental implant patient and doctor communication.

To read more about iCat and Tx STUDIO 3D planning software see the company’s full press release (pdf).

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