What to look for in a Veterinary Digital Dental Imaging System

By Dental Radiography No Comments

Dental care is becoming a must have in veterinary practices and dental radiography is the core diagnostic modality for veterinary dental care. Today, busy practices are looking for an easy to use system that is feature rich with the correct set of tools to make the job as streamlined as possible.

Key features to look for when evaluating a dental veterinary radiology system:
• Recommended software features:
– Veterinary Specific (human systems are not recommended)
– User Friendly (large buttons with full descriptions and pop up tips) – Direct e-mail of images (for clients and colleagues)
– On-board patient report generator (major workflow enhancer)
– CD image burning
– Auto full-screen display after capture
• Practice Management System Integration – Be sure there’s integration on many levels including Modality Work List (MWL) retrieval, Auto-Routing to PACS, and Data Grabbing technology, at the least.
• Out of warranty sensor replacement – Sensors rarely fail from manufacturing defects; therefore warranty is less important than out of warranty coverage. Look for a company with attractive sensor replacement costs for the life of the product.
• Sensor – Sensor design and durability are very important in veterinary medicine. Be sure the sensor is Direct USB, extremely durable and uses the latest materials for leading edge image quality.
• Support – Without great support the entire system can be worthless.
Be sure the company you work with offers unlimited phone and web based support at no charge for life. You may need help with tasks like configuring custom patient reports, integration to PM software and PACS, assistance with positioning techniques. Make a wish list of what’s important to you before speaking to a representative.
X-ray Machine – Look for a machine with incremental time adjustments, predefined anatomical selections, an optional integrated laptop tray in mobile or wall mount.

Sound® the global veterinary imaging leader, recommends the Dentalaire DTX to it’s customers looking to add veterinary radiology to the practice. The DTX is one of the most widely used and easiest to work with Veterinary Dental Radiography systems. This veterinary specific digital dental system combines a proven sensor with state of the art software and Dentalaire delivers excellent support. The ease of use and flexibility is rapidly making it a favorite in the veterinary dental community. See the Dentalaire DTX product at soundvet.com/dental for more details. The DTX system gives you the ability to “Wow” your clients, and educate them about their pet’s care. Additionally, the software is easily integrated with virtually all practice management systems, PACS servers and DICOM systems.

What Does a Veterinary Digital Dental Imaging System Cost

By Dental Radiography No Comments

The cost for implementing dental radiology is minimal. New dental X-ray machines are available for around $3000. Newer machines, such as the Corix Pro 70 Veterinary Dental X-Ray, feature solid-state timer systems, which allow use in a digital system. I would recommend avoiding older human dental X-ray units, as there can be issues with inconsistent exposure times and radiation scatter. An additional $500 gets you a chair side developing tank, film, film clips, and chemistry. The chair
side developer (Instaveloper) and chemistry (Insta-neg and Insta-fix) made by Microcopy are my favorite, and are available through Dentalaire. Most practices will be happiest using D-speed X-ray film, which provides high detail and is more forgiving of errors in exposure and processing. To save time, a small X-ray view box should be located next to the chair side developer. You should be able to pay for your entire dental radiology investment of around $4000 in one month. You will realize income from the dental radiographs, as well as from the treatment of otherwise hidden pathology. What other area of veterinary medicine provides this kind of return?

A more recent advancement in dental radiology is the availability of digital systems, which eliminate the need for film and chemistry, improving the workflow. Digital systems typically range from around $6000 to $16,000 in cost, and are rapidly becoming the standard in practice due to their time savings. Images are organized in a database, and must be backed up regularly to prevent loss of patient records. Some digital imaging software allows for the easy importing of high quality pictures, printing of client letters with radiographs and pictures, and displaying images from the pet on a large screen in the exam room. Owners love seeing pictures and radiographs from their pet!

Sound® the global veterinary imaging leader recommends the Dentalaire DTX digital dental system to it’s customers looking to add dental radiography to their practice. The DTX combines a proven sensor with state of the art software and excellent software support. The ease of use and flexibility of the software is rapidly making it a favorite in the veterinary dental community. See the DTX product section in the online catalog for more details. The DTX system gives you the ability to “Wow” your clients, and educate them about their pet’s care. Additionally, the software is easily integrated with virtually all practice management systems, PACS servers and DICOM systems on the market.

The Clinical Impact of Dental Radiography

By Dental Radiography No Comments

Dental radiology is the core diagnostic modality for veterinary dental care. Trying to diagnose and treat dental disease without radiographs is like trying to treat ear disease without an otoscope, or diabetes mellitus without blood glucose measurements.
If a practice is not currently taking dental radiographs, they are sending many, if not most, of their patients home with painful dental problems. Unfortunately, the pets seem to act fine, they eat well ac- cording to the owners, and rarely do they show any overt sign that they are in pain. Many owners assume that because there is no obvious pain, there is no pathology. Many veterinarians assume that unless a tooth is loose, it does not require treatment. Nothing could be further from the truth. The accompanying dental radiographs all illustrate cases where non- mobile teeth in apparently normal patients are associated with significant pathology. When these types of problems are found and ad- dressed, the patients typically act “years younger”, according to the owners. If you start taking dental radiographs and treating the hidden disease in your patients, you will likely find that the majority of your positive client comments are generated from your dental cases.

The following examples illustrate cases in which proper treatment would not occur without dental radiographs.

Some digital imaging software allows for the easy importing of high-quality pictures, printing of client letters with radio- graphs and pictures, and displaying images from the pet on a large screen in the exam room. Owners love seeing pictures and radiographs from their pet!

The Dentalaire DTX digital dental system from Sound ® gives you the ability to “Wow” your clients, and educate them about their pet’s care. Additionally, the software is easily integrated with virtually all practice management systems, PACS servers and DICOM systems on the market.

Integrating Digital Dental Imaging into the Practice
The idea of dental radiology is a new one for many practitioners and their clients. Acceptance of dental radiographs, does not magically occur after obtaining the requisite equipment, but rather depends on the practice implementing a number of steps. These steps include deciding what the practice stance is toward dental radiology, educating the staff and doctors in the use and value of the equipment, obtaining educational materials that the staff can deliver to the clients, and coordinating the delivery of your marketing message to your clientele (see the previous articles for more detail). This process involves change, which is painful. You will have to invest a few hours of time and staff training to achieve good results, but the rewards in improved patient health, client satisfaction, and practice revenue will be enormous.

For those who still doubt that there clients will accept dental radiographs, I would point out the example of heartworm testing and prevention in my practice area. According to our own local heartworm survey results, our practice area has a minute incidence (less than 0.1%) of heartworm disease, yet most practices that choose to pursue heartworm prevention have achieved a high level of compliance.This is because heartworm testing and prevention was presented to clients as something that would benefit the pet. The disease was explained, the staff gave recommendations, and the doctors backed them up.

In other words, heartworm prevention was “marketed” to the clientele of the practice. I estimate that half of your patients require some form of dental care, and that most dogs and cats over the age of six years have at least one painful dental problem in their mouth. Most of these painful teeth have no mobility, and will only be diagnosed through dental radiography. It should be much easier to market a service that occurs in most of your patients versus a disease that rarely occurs.
It is just a matter of what you believe, and how you communicate this to your clients. I have worked with dozens of practices all over the country, helping them implement dental radiology. I have yet to find one practice, regardless.