One of the most common imaging dilemmas today’s dental and dental specialty practices face is what type of extraoral dental X-ray machine to purchase in the event they need to replace their current dental X-ray equipment. We’ve all experienced this challenge both at home and in business; when faced with an expensive repair, is it best to replace the item with equivalent technology, or do you take this opportunity to upgrade to something with more features to help increase efficiency and revenue?
All dental professionals know that the extraoral imaging system is one of the most significant investments in the dental practice, and often the one with the largest price tag. When it’s time to replace either an analog X-ray device, or an older digital panoramic X-ray machine, many practices take time to evaluate their current and future imaging needs before making a hasty replacement purchase. But they don’t want to take too long to decide, as every day they are down can adversely affect practice production, interrupt patient flow, and jeopardize patient care.
Replacing an Analog Panoramic X-Ray Machine
Let’s first discuss if you are replacing a film, or analog, panoramic X-ray machine. By now, the majority of dental practices have made the transition to digital extraoral imaging. If your practice is still stuck on using film, the only places to find a replacement analog dental X-ray machine at this point are likely from another practice or a used dental equipment vendor, since they are no longer manufactured. You can also try to find them on eBay, FaceBook marketplace, dental classified ads and other online used dental equipment posting sites. If you are open to upgrading to a digital panoramic X-ray model, then you have even more options and flexibility. Not to mention less chemicals and waste!
Replacing a Digital Panoramic X-Ray Machine
When it comes time to replace a digital panoramic X-ray machine, sometimes it’s easiest to just replace the X-ray with the same or a 2D model, but many dental practitioners consider this a good time to make the move to 3D imaging with a dental CBCT system. Either way, the choices can be overwhelming, so it’s best first to define your goals to help narrow down your selections.
● Diagnostic Requirements: Consider your immediate and future imaging needs. Do you intend on continuing with standard dental procedures where panoramic X-rays are sufficient, or are you thinking of expanding your offered procedures, such as dental implants or endodontics, or adding a specialist, such as an orthodontist, to your practice? If things are staying “status quo” for the next few years, then you’re probably safe to select another digital 2D panoramic X-ray machine. But, if you’re thinking of appending your services, then a dental cone beam or a combination panoramic/cephalometric X-ray machine may be a better fit for the long term. When selecting a dental CBCT system, the type of procedures you intend to offer will dictate the 3D field of view (FOV) needed. For example, a small FOV is ideal for endodontics, a medium FOV supports dental implants, surgical guides and general dentistry, and a larger FOV is often required for orthodontics and sleep applications.
● Features: Start thinking about the features that you need or would like to have with your digital dental X-ray system. Would you like to capture extraoral bitewings? Do you need an X-ray machine that is upgradeable to a cone beam or cephalometric in the future? Make a list of necessary vs. “nice to have” features.
● Space: Consider your practice environment. Do you have a large X-ray area or is it on the smaller side? If it’s a small room or hallway, then you’ll need to look for more compact panoramic X-ray models. If you’re faced with an office remodel before the X-ray installation, it will increase your investment and installation timeframe. Be sure to research each manufacturer’s actual vs. recommended dimensions and the way patients are loaded into the panoramic X-ray machine. Does your staff have enough space to maneuver around the machine and position the patient comfortably? If you’re upgrading to a cone beam or ceph X-ray from a panoramic X-ray system, you may be faced with regulatory considerations, such as adding lead to the walls or radiation source distance requirements.
● Practice Workflow: Today’s top panoramic X-ray models, and panorex images taken with most dental cone beam systems, integrate with leading dental imaging and practice management software through a TWAIN interface, allowing most practices to keep their current software. But, if you change out X-ray models or upgrade to a cone beam system, consider all of the elements in your practice, from the addition of 3D software to integration with other imaging devices. Can you keep your original practice workflow, or will your staff have to learn all new routines? If your dental team is reluctant to change, make sure you’re making modifications for all of the right reasons and prepare them well in advance.
● Reliability: With all dental equipment, uptime is key. Make sure you only consider dental X-ray brands that are known for dependability, reliability and producing high-quality images. Check to make sure you can easily get phone and remote support, as well as replacement parts and onsite service if needed.
● Budget: How much are you willing to spend on a panoramic X-ray machine? Is your budget tight? Then a simple replacement 2D panoramic X-ray machine may be the best fit at the moment. But, if you can stretch your budget a little more and upgrade to a cone beam or ceph, now may be the time to do it. Ask about available financing options to help stretch your budget even further and minimize your monthly payments. You’ll be surprised at how fast additional dental services can increase your bottom line.
Replacing a panoramic X-ray machine can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to “break the bank.” You can save up to 50% off the price of new dental X-ray equipment by purchasing certified pre-owned panoramic X-ray machines from Renew Digital. We offer many of the leading dental X-ray models to meet the needs of just about any dental practice size or budget. Each panoramic X-ray purchase includes installation, training and comprehensive warranty coverage Contact us or call 888-246-5611 today for up to date availability and pricing on all of our in-stock panoramic X-ray machines.. You’re already one step closer!