Misconceptions about the Switch to Digital Radiography (Chart)

“If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.” How many of us have used that line when we’re asked to change the way we do things? Especially when you’re already overwhelmed with treating patients as well as:

  • Managing practice operational costs – Everything from keeping payroll costs in line to controlling sundries and supply costs. (proper disposal of chemicals not related to costs)

  • Building a larger and better referring patient base – Making sure you’re attracting new quality patients and offering a service level and quality of care that distinguishes you from the competition.

  • Managing risks – ensuring that the proper documentation has been completed, complying with patient privacy legislation, and putting systems in place that help to avoid mistakes by any team member.

So considering a switch to digital radiography may seem like the last thing on your to-do list, but it is because of these reasons that you should take a serious look at it. When most dentists think about switching to digital, they think of it as a big change that involves:

  • Integration issues

  • Operational challenges

  • Price outside of budget

  • Retraining staff

Because most dentists have misconceptions about how digital radiography will advance their dental practice objectives, they may focus on whether they want to work through the immediate impact of equipment changes and stop there. This chart may help shed some light on the most common objections (and misconceptions) about switching to digital.



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“I’m afraid that a new system won’t integrate with my existing system.”For many dentists, one of the biggest concerns is integration—they are afraid that by buying a digital radiography product that is “out of the family,” their equipment will not work together.

If you thought only mobile phones were able to sync up with everything, you haven’t taken a look at how today’s dental technologies can work together and integrate smoothly into your workflow. Even if you purchase a digital radiography product that is outside of your family, chances are it will be compatible with your existing system.

Become familiar with the new sensor technology and enhancements that have been made….you will be amazed at what is now available to you.

“Digital radiography isn’t worth the cost of computerizing my backend.”If your treatment rooms are not already computerized, adding digital radiography may seem like an expensive option.

Two key points here.   Number 1 – not all digital radiography products require a computerized operatory. For example, phosphor plate systems have a workflow similar to film, but can develop images much faster and do not require a treatment room computer. Some digital sensors are now mobile and work with portable computing / display options such as iPad. Number 2 – computerizing your back office and networking a good practice management system can help reduce overall operational costs in many other ways

Don’t assume all digital radiography products aren’t adaptable to the technology level of your practice. Ask about things such as digital radiography products with a workflow similar to film or mobile / portable solutions if you are not planning to computerize your treatment rooms.

“Digital sensors are too big and bulky.”Many dentists are afraid that digital intraoral sensors are uncomfortable for their patients and too hard to position.

Modern digital intraoral sensors come in a variety of sizes and can capture a wide range of images. While correctly positioning sensors may have been a concern in the past due to poor design, today’s sensors have been created to ensure proper placement initially, as well as promote a more comfortable exam for your patients.

Look for sensors that are available in different sizes, like film and have the capability to capture different types of images. You can even find sensors and positioning systems that make positioning easier for you and your staff.

“Digital radiography is too expensive.”Many dentists are hesitant to purchase digital radiography products because they are much more expensive than film radiography.

It’s true—the initial cost of digital radiography is much more expensive than film. However, unlike film radiography, this is a one-time cost. And, if you consider the time savings and how much you will save by not purchasing consumables such as film and chemicals every month, you may discover that you will actually save money in the long run.

Many dental imaging companies can help you take a look at how much you spend on consumables--depending on how many images you capture during a year--and compare this to the cost of digital radiography equipment. This eye-opening exercise can show you how much you will actually save by making the switch.


We hope this has answered many of the misconceptions you or your team may have, and help you in your decision-making process. As always, we look forward to your feedback and insight.

Carestream Dental Blog Administrator Contributor