When patients are educated about the details of their dental health, they are more likely to understand the value of treatment. In my quest to improve my patients' dental experience, about two years ago, I began to explore the various options for digital radiography. At first, I was apprehensive about going digital and how this would affect workflow. After a short training period with my staff, I was happily convinced-digital-imaging advancements improve patient care.
One very apparent positive aspect of digital imaging is connected with my imaging software-it both makes my job easier and involves the patients in their own treatment. This easy-to-use imaging software captures and mounts X-rays, offers a library of customized mounts, and allows my assistants and hygienists to set a capture sequence for each series. The Quick Mount Selector lets my team choose their most frequently used mounts, and Auto-Advance allows them to take images quickly. Auto Rotation automatically orients each image as it's taken. This program allows the image to encompass the entire computer screen, and then, the Optimizer maximizes its clarity with one click, defining an individual's problem even more precisely.
Digital radiography is a timesaving tool. By the time I walk to the treatment room, the image is waiting on the screen. Because the images are instantaneous, I can pause in the middle of certain procedures, such as a root canal, and quickly take a digital image to check that the procedure is progressing correctly. I place some of my own implants, and double checking their positioning facilitates a positive outcome. And, when I inform my patients that they are receiving much lower exposure to radiation, it alleviates their "radiation phobia."
Patient reaction to our digital images within the VixWin Platinum is amazing. With traditional film X-rays, patients often did not understand or see their problem. When I Optimize a digital image, the evidence of their infection, periodontal issues, or decay is as clear as day. Armed with this knowledge, they are more accepting of treatment.
The latest software upgrade has made the process even easier. Icons are simpler to identify (especially for new team members), use, and size, and shortcuts are available. We can even set the background color and toolbar functions per computer. We appreciate this flexibility.
Besides the visual aspect of digital X-rays, my eHD sensors simplify X-ray capture. The portability of the sensors allows us to easily move them between operatories. My patients often report that the sensors are more comfortable than traditional film because of their rounded corners and because my team can choose from two sizes.
This new imaging software makes imaging easier and quicker for the entire team, improves my diagnoses, and involves my patients in their own dental care. It's a win-win situation for everyone.
Dr. Richard Schmidt, of Skokie, Illinois, has been in practice for 19 years.
He graduated from the University of Illinois College of Dentistry and completed a two-year General Practice Residency at the Illinois Masonic Medical Center. His general practice welcomes patients ranging from children to seniors. Dr. Schmidt can be reached at RASDDS@aol.com.