Making the switch to digital radiography

How the ScanX Swift View has helped one educator practice what he preaches to his patients.

Juan Yepes, DDS, MD, is a pediatric dentist in Indianapolis concerned about limiting his patients’ radiation exposure. As an associate professor at Indiana University School of Dentistry, he seeks to inform his students about higher levels of patient care and minimize radiation exposure. Dr. Yepes also researches and is a frequent lecturer on “Radiation Safety in Pediatric Dentistry” at major dental shows in the U.S. and around the world. His experience with the digital radiography line at Air Techniques aligns with his philosophy of dental care and helps him put it to work in his private practice.

“I lecture all over the country and internationally about how we can’t expose children to too much radiation. I don’t want to say to everyone, “Be careful!” and then, in my office, have to retake 50 percent of the radiographs that we take,” Dr. Yepes says. “When I say something, that’s what I practice in my office.”

Dr. Yepes explains that out of all the patients who can walk into a dental office, children are the most radio-sensitive. Children are also not the easiest to work with, and it isn’t unusual to need retakes on radiographs. Dr. Yepes wants to not only optimize the number of radiographs in which children participate but also to educate parents about radiation exposure.

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“It is a critical issue. Parents these days are motivated to learn about all these things. And I am a dad,” Dr. Yepes says. “When I take my kids to the dentist, as their dad, I want the dentist to minimize the exposure to radiation.”

Dr. Yepes has been taking digital radiographs for many years. He began using a system with sensors. However, when working with children, Dr. Yepes realized how challenging it could be to place the sensor or film inside the mouth of small patients. After trying different sensors and developing a lot of frustrations, he decided to look into phosphor storage plates (PSPs).

PSPs are indirect radiology. Similar to what’s used when taking a traditional film, PSPs are thin and easy to place in children’s mouths, even those as young as three years old.

After implementing indirect radiology with PSP technology, his patient compliance increased and his retakes decreased. Dr. Yepes researched his equipment options and chose Air Techniques ScanX Swift for his practice.

Earlier this year, he upgraded to the top-of-the-line ScanX Swift View. The transition to PSPs was natural for Dr. Yepes and his staff. He thinks the ScanX Swift View also had an easy learning curve, which is good news for clinicians who have yet to transition away from traditional film. One tip Dr. Yepes has for taking the best possible image with ScanX Swift View is to use a positioning film device with PSPs to minimize the contacts.

“You can use a film holder with sensors, but it’s difficult because sensors are not all the same size. With the PSPs, it’s easy to use the holders - and we have been using them in dentistry for the past 85 years,” he says. “For someone who is just joining the amazing world of digital radiology, phosphor storage plates are an easy transition.”

Dr. Yepes also likes that the ScanX Swift View is Wi-Fi enabled. “You don’t have to be next to the radiology equipment or your main computer; you can place it anywhere in the office you need to improve workflow,” he says.

Another feature Dr. Yepes appreciates is the top panel with a touchscreen that requires no more than two steps. “You select the size of the film you are using, push it and that’s it,” he says.

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Dr. Yepes also enjoys the resolution ScanX Swift View produces. In his pediatric dentistry practice, Dr. Yepes often has concerns about small caries between his patients’ teeth. Sometimes the resolution of the image makes a difference between treating the decay or just observing it.

With technology, there are always early-adopters and others who wait. As a self-described middle adopter of technology, Dr. Yepes says the ScanX Swift View is enough like traditional radiography that it can make the transition to digital radiography easier.

“For those that have been waiting, it is a good time to use this new technology and not be disappointed,” Dr. Yepes says.