CR and DR: Not Such an Odd Couple

If you’re already using digital radiography (DR) in your practice, you might wonder: What’s the point of adding computed radiography (CR) when I already have sensors to accommodate patients of all shapes and sizes?

The point is that not every patient can comfortably handle a sensor. Some find the sensor so bothersome—especially for bitewings on a patient with large mandibular tori—that they can’t remain immobile long enough to take a good radiograph. This could prevent you from getting a high-quality image, and, therefore, inhibit your diagnosing capabilities. Having a CR system available enables you to ensure your patient’s comfort without sacrificing image quality.

So your next question might be: What’s the learning curve for a CR system?

As it turns out, surprisingly short, if you choose the right one.

A CR system that features a film-like workflow will require minimal training and integrate very smoothly into your daily practice. So if you haven’t moved to digital, this type of system can serve nicely as a stepping stone. And if you are already using digital intraoral sensors, this type of system has a complementary workflow. Both CR and DR address specific needs, and the combination of the two can mean great things for your practice.

For example, when you’re taking a full mouth series on a patient with a shallow palate, they are much more likely to accept a thin, flexible plate over a sensor. When your patient is comfortable, you end up with higher quality radiographs—since there’s no gagging effect. You could also end up with a great review on social media from a patient who, for the first time, had a pleasant imaging experience, thanks to your CR system.

Have you had any experiences with patients that were resolved or could have been resolved by using CR?

Edward Shellard, D.M.D. Contributor