Dental Practice Startup: Imaging Technology Considerations that Can Make or Break Your Practice

Dental school graduates who choose private practice have two main paths to choose from when starting their professional careers—start fresh or take on an associateship with an established practice. If you decide to venture out on your own, there are certainly some imaging technology considerations to take into account.

How can your choice of imaging technology make or break your practice? With the right imaging systems, you can:

  • efficiently capture high-quality images that improve, diagnosis, patient communication, co-discovery, and case acceptance;
  • reduce dose to your patients and eliminate time delays, and
  • seamlessly integrate digital radiography into your practice management system, thus improving care while streamlining your workflow and improving your overall practice efficiency.

Unfortunately, choosing the wrong imaging system for your practice—or one that is ”low end”—can actually waste money, which is the last thing you want to do when starting your own business.

2D Radiography

Assuming you’ve ruled out film and chemistry, one of the first decisions you will need to make when selecting a 2D radiography system is whether you want to go with direct digital, phosphor plates, or a combination of both. Depending on your specialty or patient demographics, it may make more sense to choose one over the other; however, many dental professionals enjoy the flexibility of having both systems available. This decision depends on the size and type of practice you have.

After considering your specific needs, the following posts can help you implement your direct digital or computed radiography systems:

Digital Radiography Checklist

Computed Radiography Checklist

Intraoral Cameras

A high-quality intraoral camera can help you practice in a number of ways. For example, having real-time imaging that can be viewed on a monitor can help improve patient communication and co-discovery, thus increasing your case acceptance. Your images can also be easily shared with your colleagues to facilitate inter-disciplinary care and collaboration.

Choosing a camera that is auto focus, intuitive to use and comfortable for patients is recommended.

Panoramic Systems

While 2D radiography systems allow dental professionals high resolution images of teeth, sometimes you need to see the big picture—and that’s where panoramic imaging comes in. When choosing a panoramic system, consider the following questions:

  • Do you have dedicated space for a panoramic system? If space is tight would a smaller footprint system be a better fit?
  • Are you interested in utilizing 3D technology in the future? If so, you may want to look for pano systems that are upgradeable to 3D.
  • Do you have a need for cephalometric imaging? If so, look into purchasing a unit that includes ceph or one that can be upgraded later on, this will add to the size and space required to house the unit.

Overall Considerations

When you select your imaging systems, integration should always be a key consideration. By choosing 2D, panoramic and intraoral cameras that work with your dental practice management and imaging software, you can make the startup process easier for yourself, your staff, and your patients.

New dentists, do you have any concerns about choosing imaging systems for your new practice? Experienced dentists, do you have any advice to offer?

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