Digital XRay and Software. Part 2: Quality Control
Dentists purchasing a digital x-ray system put a lot of time and effort into their choice. However, when it comes time to implement, they’re often in the dark. Here are some tips to make sure the x-ray system you’re purchasing meets your expectations not just when you buy it, but when you’re using it.
Get Involved at Implementation
There’s a misconception that the x-ray system will be perfectly setup to your preferences right out of the box. This is not always true. Sometimes a little bit of image enhancement needs to be done to make the x-rays meet your liking. We should stress that only a *little* improvement should to be done. Too much augmenting is an indication of a poor x-ray.
Practice on Live Models
When you’re having an x-ray system demonstrated and/or installed, you should take an x-ray of a living person using your x-ray source. All x-ray systems have built-in software or free demo software that comes with it. For example, Schick sensors come with Schick CDR. Sirona comes with Sidexis. ScanX comes with simple demo software for testing purposes, etc. When the sensor is first installed at your office, the technician should take an x-ray in this software and confirm with you - before they leave - that everything is satisfactory. The x-ray system has settings on the driver level that can be tweaked to your preference. In addition to this, it provides a baseline for our technical support to work from should you have image quality issues needing to be resolved. So instead of having mythical ideas of what the x-ray should look like, we have a solid, tangible definition of what the x-ray system can do in your environment. It’s at this point you need to involve yourself and be as critical as possible.
Sounds simple right? You'd be amazed at how often this doesn’t happen. We’re often told that the technician just took x-rays of a step wedge or some other calibration instrument. Once the technician is satisfied the system is calibrated, an x-ray needs to be taken on a real person so the dentist can confirm the quality on something that he/she is trained to evaluate.
With Pan/Ceph it’s even worse. Often we see that the tech has taken a picture of their cell phone or keys. These devices are often TWAIN devices - meaning that the driver software is loaded with options that affect the image quality. These options, at the driver level, are best understood and supported by the manufacturer so they, too, should be involved to make sure the drivers are optimal for x-rays on people and not phones!