Spotlight on Sensors: Best Practices for Selecting an Intraoral Sensor

Finding the right sensor for your practice requires research. After all, a good intraoral sensor can provide many benefits for you, your staff, and your patients. To facilitate this process, I have created a chart that highlights the features you should look for, how they benefit your practice, and the questions you should ask during the buying process. Continue reading

3D vs. 2D Imaging – Is the 2D Ceph Still Necessary? (Part 2)

By Matt Hendrickson, U.S. Orthodontic Director

Last week, we touched on the why orthodontists need a 2D cephalometric system in their office and the difference between the different units. This week, I want to discuss the tangible advantages of having a 2D cephalometric unit available in your office.

The key benefits of using true 2D cephalometric imaging, as opposed to cephalometric images reconstructed by a 3D unit include:

  • Elimination of motion artifacts through one-shot acquisition
  • Improved workflow
  • Ability to evaluate treatment response of patients who started treatment with a 2D ceph
  • Decreased legal liability

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3D vs. 2D Imaging – Is the 2D Ceph Still Necessary? (Part 1)

By Matt Hendrickson, U.S. Orthodontic Director

3D images are an important tool in today’s orthodontic practice. However, capturing cephalometric images is critical for evaluating treatment in orthodontics. To ensure that you are getting the most reliable radiographs possible—and to streamline your practice workflow—it’s important to choose the right imaging system for your office. While there are a number of units on the market that can reconstruct a cephalometric image from a cone beam computed tomography (CBCT) scan, these can take a toll on your workflow as well as introduce legal complications into your practice. Wise practitioners are implementing CBCT systems that give them the flexibility of both 2D and 3D imaging. Continue reading

Three-Dimensional Basics: What’s the Difference between 2D and 3D Technology?

Whether it is in printing or imaging technology, 3D seems to be a frequently spoken of topic for many us. As an Oral and Maxillofacial radiologist, I certainly have my own opinions on the matter, and I am often asked to share them with my peers when speaking at conferences and seminars across the nation. To that end, I would like to tackle this topic in depth by covering every aspect of 3D—including what makes it different from 2D digital dental technology.

Although 3D imaging shouldn’t be used as a primary choice without analyzing the risks vs. benefits to patients, incorporating a 3D imaging system into your practice could provide several benefits, including:

  • Improved diagnoses and treatment planning – enhanced images allow you to see more than you can with 2D alone
  • Better patient communication – patients are more likely to comprehend with their diagnosis when the clinician can point out the problem on a more realistic 3D image rather than a static 2D image
  • Increased case acceptance – 3D imaging software allows you to map out treatment plans so patients can make better-informed decisions regarding their proposed treatment plan

Differences between 2D and 3D Images

While 2D radiographs are a static image taken of a specific area of interest, 3D imaging uses rotating cone shaped beams of X-rays to take images that are then reconstructed to form multiplanar images, cross sectionals and 3D surface renderings that have much higher sensitivity in diagnosing pathology. To break down the biggest differences between these two imaging forms, I created the table below:

Categories 2D Imaging 3D Imaging
Images Flat Image MPR & Cross-sectional images made up of multiple thin slices
Distinction of Structures Anatomical Structures are overlapped (superimpositions) Isolated visualization of structures
Clarity Distortions are possible Anatomical accuracy can be achieved
Image Manipulation Single image for manipulation DICOM stacks available for manipulation


The underlying theme when it comes to the differences between 2D imaging and 3D imaging is that 3D technology allows dental specialists to uncover critical information that could be subdued while 2D imaging is solely relied upon.

Have you incorporated 3D imaging into your practice yet? If so, what advice would you give others who are interested in this technology?

Spotlight on Sensors: The Anatomy of a Quality Digital Sensor

If you’re into technology—like I am—it’s always interesting to deconstruct a technology to better understand how it works. For this reason, I wanted to discuss the different components of an intraoral digital X-ray sensor and how they help you capture the digital images you need. Not all sensors contain the same parts, which is something to consider before making a sensor purchase. By buying a higher quality sensor for your practice, you can:

  • optimize the signal-to-noise ratio leading to better contrast resolution and spatial resolution;
  • properly disinfect the sensor, protecting against cross contamination; and
  • ensure your sensor lasts longer, resulting in lower practice expenses.


Diagram of an intraoral sensor

Diagram of an intraoral sensor

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Spotlight on Sensors: True vs. Theoretical Resolution

As dental professionals, you already know how important resolution is when you select digital imaging products for your practice —whether it’s direct digital, phosphor plates, panoramic systems or even a new camera for your practice. However, sometimes the “advertised” resolution is not the same as the “tested “resolution, and the wording companies use to describe resolution can be confusing. For this post, I would like to take the opportunity to discuss a question that many others have asked when choosing a sensor: what’s the importance of spatial resolution and what is the difference between true and theoretical spatial resolution? Continue reading

Referral and Loyalty Program Preparation: Are Patients Judging You by Your Technology?

In dentistry, clinical expertise and experience should count for more than technology systems —but the truth is that patients do judge us by the technology we use. It can take as many as 25 years to become a great dentist, but these days it only take 25 minutes to look the part–especially when leveraging technology at a higher level.  Patients do judge us by our technological expertise and their perception starts–even before they walk through the door—with your Internet presence. From your web presence, it continues with their interaction with your front desk staff all the way throughout their clinical exam. It’s imperative that your technology impression is a good one from the start. Continue reading

The Hidden Benefits in Leaving Film – Employee Satisfaction (Chart)

As a dental professional, you undoubtedly use dental technology on a daily basis. In addition, your employees also spend a great deal of time working with your office equipment, products and patients. Since your staff members are the backbone of your organization, it’s important to ensure they are happy and satisfied with their jobs and working conditions. In light of this, you may consider how the new technology you introduce in the office will impact them. Continue reading

The Hidden Benefits in Leaving Film – Patient Satisfaction (Chart)

Looking for ways to improve patient satisfaction—whether through improving reception décor or back office processes—is important for most dental professionals. After all, happy and healthy patients are the heart of every dental practice. When putting financial and strategic plans into action, it’s important to ask yourself how these strategies and changes will impact your patients.

This also applies to transitioning from film to digital radiography, as it’s important to carefully consider how this would impact the patient experience in your office. Continue reading