How to Choose a Direct Digital X-Ray System
The process of selecting a direct digital radiography system can be a daunting task. From the sheer number of options to the disparity of cost it can be an intimidating project. This article will focus on the main factors to consider when selecting a system.
Patient comfort is key when using the sensors. The crucial determining factor of comfort is not as much the thickness of the sensor as its actual design. A number of companies have developed sensors that have rounded edges to improve patient comfort, while others employ an octagonal shape. The holders for these sensors also play an important part. Though RINN style holders might be the most popular, there are a number of variations and other systems to choose from.
Any office that is considering digital radiography should also consider the image management software before choosing a sensor. Take a look at the image software for ease of use and functionality, as some of these systems can be tedious and cumbersome to use, especially if the operator has little or no experience. If your office is already using some type of imaging software you will most likely be able to import any existing images into most of the major image software applications. Digital sensors and their respective imaging software systems are generally compatible with most practice management systems, with the use of a link or bridge to tie them together, so patient demographic data need only be entered once.
Of course cost may be the biggest obstacle to taking the plunge. The estimated costs of direct digital radiography can be anywhere from several thousand to tens of thousands of dollars, depending upon the software tools that are included and the number of sensors you need. Also, consider purchasing the vendors extended warranty program, as the cost of replacing the sensors down the road far exceeds the cost of the warranty. Don’t let the cost of these systems intimidate you. The return on investment usually outweighs the initial cost by increasing staff productivity, increasing chair time availability, and reducing chemical and other equipment expenses.
With the growing popularity of digital radiography there has been an explosion in the number of companies offering sensor systems and the number is still growing. Purchasing a system from a large company or a small company is a matter of personal preference, but do be aware that some companies have gone out of business in the past few years and this is one of the risks of buying lesser-known products. The following is an alphabetical list of some of the companies that provide direct digital sensors:
- Dent-X Corporation USA (www.dent-x.com)
- Dentrix Dental Systems, Inc. (www.dentrix.com)
- Dexis LLC (www.dexray.com)
- KaVo Dental/Gendex Imaging (www.gendex.com)
- Kodak Dental Systems (www.kodakdental.com)
- Progeny Dental (www.progenydental.com)
- Schick Technologies (www.schicktech.com)
- Sirona (www.sirona.com)
- Suni Medical Imaging (www.suni.com)
In summary, the major factors to focus on when selecting a direct digital radiography system should be sensor comfort, imaging software ease of use and functionality, the ability to integrate the system with your current practice management solution, the cost of installing the system and the manufacturer standing behind the system. Once these factors have been considered, you should be in a better position to choose the right digital radiography solution for your practice.