Volume 29: Discussion on Digital X-Rays

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I have been trying to understand the different digital X-rays that are available today. Which one is best? I have compiled some notes for consideration.

  1. Both the scanned photo phosphorous plate method (Scan X type) and the direct digital sensor systems (Schick type) require computer and monitors in the operatories to view the digital X-rays. Typically when adding computers in the operatories one should consider the whole dental computer system in the practice (this could have an additional cost). It is not only the cost of the computers and monitors but there could be software and such other hardware costs as the mechanical arms that hold the TFT (flat-panel) monitors. Please do not use the cathode ray type monitors.
  2. When a practice goes digital for X-rays, one must check to ensure that the existing Xray units are compatible for digital regardless of which system you purchase.
  3. If there is a panoramic system in the practice, to be totally digital (i.e., no film processor), you should purchase a digital pan or use the Scan X type system which scans pans. This unit costs more than a standard bite wing type scanner. With the Schick type bite wing system a digital pan would be necessary and complementary to the Schick system. A new digital pan is about $35,000 and up.
  4. Both systems eliminate the film processor and one would be seen as being GREEN friendly by removing the film processing chemicals.
  5. The reduction of the X-ray wave strength for the wired sensor type units to about 10 per cent of a standard film setting is a positive perception for the patient. The Scan X type system is about 20 to 30 per cent of the film setting, which is also very positive.
  6. I understand that the photo phosphorous plate of the Scan X type system can deteriorate over time and are more apt to be damaged but their replacement is quite inexpensive (i.e., four for $100.).The Schick type system is more durable and I understand that they can be purchased with a five year warranty. After that the replacement would necessitate the purchase of a new sensor which in today’s cost would be in the $8,000 range.
  7. Dentists tend to be more comfortable with the photo phosphorous plate as it is more like the film that they have been using. I have heard that the wired sensor is perceived to be too thick.
  8. The Scan X type system requires the additional step of scanning the image off the photo phosphorous plate whereas the Schick system is electronically transmitted directly to the monitor for an instant image.
  9. I believe that film processing for X-rays will go the same way that digital cameras are eliminating film in family photograph. I believe that patients will expect their dentist to use digital X-rays to reduce the X-ray exposure regardless of the limited exposure that Xrays give off.
  10. If the fair market value of your equipment, leasehold value and inventory of supplies is less than 25 % of your billings, you have the scope to put in digital X-rays. If you are noticeably over 25 % for the assets to billings ratio, you have less scope to get involved with digital X-rays. This 25 % is not magical but it is a good indication of a balanced practice that I have mentioned before. It is called investing in your practice over the long run. If you are billing $1,000,000 the practice should look like a million dollar practice and digital X-rays can help.

In summary each system has advantages and disadvantages and each dentist should consider which best suits their practice requirements. Understand the total cost before going into digital X-rays.

The Professional Advisory

  1. One Year Later

  2. Dealing with Unsolicited Offers

  3. Covid-19 Practice Sales Update

  4. When is the Right Time to Sell Your Practice and Why?

  5. Partnership Pitfalls

  6. The Real Cost of a Dental Practice Set-up

  7. Smaller Practice Realities

  8. Dental Market Update - 2019

  9. Creating Your Own Most Valuable Practice (MVP)

  10. Small Practice Economics

  11. The Market is Very Efficient

  12. How Can Dental Practice Values be Rising and Declining?

  13. Hygiene as a Value Driver

  14. The Value of a Good Team

  15. Is it Time to Move?

  16. Staging A Dental Practice

  17. The High Cost of Dying

  18. Deal-Busters

  19. Patients - Attract and Retain

  20. Should I Stay or Should I Go?

  21. Is There a Buyer for Every Practice?

  22. Good, Better, Best - The Market has Spoken

  23. Smooth-Sale-ing

  24. Buying Time

  25. Patients, Patience, Patients

  26. A Real Patient

  27. Why Do a Practice Valuation? I'm not Selling

  28. Irrational Exuberance or The New Normal?

  29. Do dental equipment and dental technology affect a practice value?

  30. Finding and Being a Mentor

  31. Bigger is Better

  32. Dave's Top Ten List for Buyers (Vendors should read this too!)

  33. How Well Do You Know Your Practice?

  34. Dave's Top Ten List for Vendors

  35. What will happen to dental practice Values in the next 10 years?

  36. Your Premises Lease is an Important Asset

  37. What are Associates Thinking?

  38. There is Life Outside the GTA

  39. When Is the Right Time to Sell My Dental Practice?

  40. Mergers are a Viable Option

  41. Is Your Associate an Asset or a Liability?

  42. Has your Practice Facility Kept Up With Your Billings?

  43. The 100 per cent of Gross Myth

  44. The Past, The Present and The Future

  45. Caveat Emptor

  46. Overpaid Long Term Staff

  47. Selling your Practice in Stages

  48. A Potential Pitfall of Selling Shares

  49. Value in Your Practice Through Balance

  50. Only Trusted Staff Can Defraud You

  51. To Own or Not to Own Practice Real Estate? That is the Question.

  52. Coping With A Large Patient Base

  53. Successful Dental Practice Transitions

  54. Taking Care of Business

  55. The Investing Dentist Phenomenon

  56. Two areas to focus upon that could negatively impact the value of your practice

  57. Organize your Debt in Order to Sell your Practice

  58. Having a Better Team

  59. How Do I Prepare My Practice For Sale

  60. How Do I Prepare My Practice For Sale? Part 3

  61. How Do I Prepare My Practice For Sale? Part 2

  62. How Do I Prepare My Practice For Sale? Part 1

  63. Advice to My Son or Daughter Graduating from Dental School

  64. Transition - What to Expect

  65. Discussion on Digital X-Rays

  66. Partnerships and Shotguns

  67. Strategic Planning - How to Get Started

  68. Calling All Vendors - Practices have Gone Up in Value

  69. Purchasers: Expect to Pay More for a Practice because of Lower Professional Corporation Tax Rates

  70. Matrimonial Practice Valuations

  71. Purchaser's Guide to Affording a Practice

  72. Location Improvements Throughout Your Career

  73. Small Practice Valuations

  74. Partnerships – The Best and The Worst

  75. Changing Location When the Opportunity Comes Along

  76. Visual Presentation of Your Practice

  77. Presentation of Charts

  78. Your Premises Lease Can Be Your Worst Enemy

  79. How to Select an Appraiser for Your Practice

  80. How Are Your Billing Ratios?

  81. It Pays to Invest in Your Tangible Assets

  82. The Importance of Separate Financial Statements

  83. Five Time Frame Levels to Sell a Practice

  84. 12 Suggestions to Safeguard Computer Data

  85. How to Buy a Visible Practice

  86. Why is there a shortage of good practices today?

  87. The Importance of Equipment in the Purchase of a Practice

  88. The Balanced Practice

  89. Will My Practice Be Saleable in The Future?

  90. Buyer Be Aware

  91. Excess Profit - The Second Key

  92. Patients and Profits are the Keys

  93. Plan Ahead