Digital Vs. Digital

Digital Vs. Digital
  • Victoria Romans
  • Jan 8, 2013

Almost 50% of all dental offices are still using traditional x-ray film. Making the change to digital x-rays can be quite a process. You want to make sure you have selected the system that works best for your office.


Did you know there are 2 types of digital systems? Digital sensors or PSP (Phosphor) Plates. I’d like to explain a little bit about each, and the pros and cons before you decide to purchase.


Digital Sensors are very large and bulky in the mouth as compared to film or PSP plates. There is a bit of a learning curve in positioning them due to their size. They do come in size 1 and 2. You can see your image instantly. You need a computer system for every sensor, the software program, and a USB port. Different x-ray film holders for the sensor will need to be purchased. None of your traditional paralleling, or bisecting angle instruments will work. One sensor alone can be $10-$18,000 dollars. The USB ports can be another $1,500. The imaging software is another cost depending on the program you select. How large is your office? How many will you need? Replacement insurance is recommended on the sensors. They do break, get dropped, cracked, etc. If you chose a sensor, there are different brands, but basically all sensors work the same. At this time there is only one wireless sensor. I feel the down side of having a wireless sensor is it can be misplaced so easily or accidentally thrown away with garbage. For the cost, I personally would not want to be responsible for losing it.


PSP plates are another digital option. They are very thin (like an x-ray film). All your film holders will work with this system. No computers are needed in the x-ray room, only a computer for the PSP plate scanner. This scanner is about the size of a shoe box. All exposed plates are scanned through the machine and all images pop up instantly to computer monitor. All PSP plates are reusable until they wear out. They could last for years depending on the use and abuse of them. They are approximately $20-$45 per plate. The scanners are approximately $7-$15,000. The PSP plates are more forgiving if the wrong exposure factors are used. The sensors are far more sensitive to radiation.

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