X-Ray & Radiography Q & A

  • I'm looking for a new x-ray positioning system, besides the sticky tabs. What is something that is simple to use, effective, and won't gag my patients?

    The Clickrays are similar to the Rinn positioning system, but these ones are more simple (one piece and no cumbersome ring). The Clickrays include the bitewings, anterior, posterior, endo, and occlusal views all in one holder. They also fit the most popular sensors.

  • My practice has been using a film processor for x-rays, but it recently broke down. How do I decide if I want to repair my processor or go digital?

    Option 1: We offer spare parts for repair, so the cost will depend on what broke. Option 2: Sensors create high quality images quickly, but if their sensor breaks it is very costly to replace. Option 3: PSP plates are about the same size as film, but you use a scanner to send the x-rays to a computer. Each option has its pros and cons. Cons of option 1 are more archaic methods that are out of date in the patient's mind. Option 2 is the high costs, as well as having to have a computer in each operatory. As for option 3, the con is the diagnostics (you won't see early developments of things like cavities), but you will be able to see them on digital. The question to ask is: What do you benefit from by switching over?

  • My intra-oral camera is cracking and I've used superglue to repair it. I use plastic barriers and Cavicide for disinfecting. What am I doing wrong?

    The cracking is caused from the use of the Cavicide. It is one of the least harmful cleaning solutions on plastic, but it dries it out and causes it to crack. Both methods aren't necessary. If you are using the plastic barriers properly, you don't need to use the Cavicide. Also, make sure you read the MSDS sheets of all disinfectants to make sure you are using it correctly.

  • How should I protect my x-ray sensors from damage?

    Our suggestion is to use a sleeve (see #XH-74) when in use. Coil the x-ray sensor cord loosely when not in use and hang on a wall hook or store in a secure container (a covered mini set-up tray would protect it from gather dust & debris).

  • My sensor has been acting up occasionally, but only in a certain room. It is hard to replicate the issue consistently. What can I do to find the problem?

    This will be a trickier problem to fix. Our best suggestion is to start swapping stuff out one thing at a time and spend some quality time testing it out. You could start by looking at any parts that are older. Intermittent issues are often in the wiring, like the x-ray unit.

  • I purchased a new intra-oral camera with my sensor. It takes great pictures when the barrier sleeve is not on, but the images are useless with them on, due to fogging or poor clarity. How do I use barriers & take high quality images at the same timer?

    Get the barrier up tight against the camera. There are a lot of different sized barrier sleeves out there, so finding the right size will help correct the poor quality of the images. Call us for samples & we can find you a better sized sleeve for your x-ray system. As a quick fix for your current sleeves, secure your barrier tightly to the camera lens with Scotch tape.

  • I heard I need to have my x-ray machine calibrated & certified. How often should I do this?

    Yes, your x-ray machine(s) all need to be inspected & calibrated by a licensed professional in your state to perform this service. The frequency will vary by location, so check with your state radiation board or local chapter of the ADA.

  • My x-ray arm drifts from side to side. Do I need to replace the arm?

    It is doubtful that this is from wear on the arm. The most common cause for arms to drift (and this is true of operating lights & delivery system arms too) is being from not being level. Many x-ray units are mounted to walls or cabinets, so make sure your unit is properly anchored with the appropriate hardware & is level. Usually replacing the mounting hardware & attaching back boards or shims will get the arm level, correcting any drift. If it is mounted to a post, make certain the post is level.

  • I'm having trouble capturing good images from my panoramic x-ray. Do I need to adjust the settings?

    Your settings can certainly affect image quality, but the incorrect settings are rarely the cause of poor imaging. Patient placement is the most common cause of a bad image. When the patient is positioned, the Frankfurt plane should be parallel to the floor. Once the patient is positioned, have them shuffle their feet forward a little, while keeping their head still. This will help keep their spine out of the image. Getting the machine set, before you position the patient, will help you to focus on patient positioning, rather than fussing with the machine while patient struggles to stay still.

  • I've noticed a few things around the office that need maintenance regularly. I have trouble with my x-ray processor. What should I be doing on a regular basis?

    We've had a number of monthly practice tip newsletters dedicated to routine maintenance.Practice Tips #34 is a comprehensive list of maintenance to perform on equipment throughout the office & Practice Tip #80 includes routine maintenance, along with other simple things you can do to keep all of your equipment running well. As for your x-ray processor, maintenance is discussed in Practice Tips #31.

  • I heard a clicking sound coming from my film processor. The washer dryer rack stopped moving & one of the white plastic gears look broken. Can I buy a single gear or do do I have to replace the whole rack?

    Yes, you can buy a single gear. Figure out which gear needs replacing and find a corresponding match to the ones we carry. Once you have the new gear, you will want to remove the broken one. Use a high-speed handpiece to cut the broken gear off and pound the new one on with a rubber mallet or hammer cushioned with a block of wood (the gears are held on by friction).

  • My dental assistant is pregnant. What kind of x-ray apron does she need?

    You don't want a pano-type apron (it only provides coverage around the shoulders). You will want a lead-free, full coverage apron, such as a technician's apron. A true full coverage option is rare, but can be special ordered.

  • How many digital x-ray sensors should I have in my practice?

    We suggest having at least two. If you are treating children, you will want a smaller and a larger size. A larger dental practice might require even more. Having a back-up sensor on hand might come in handy if one is down or being used. The only downside to this is cost, digital sensors are costly and the extra expense might not pay off in the long run.

  • Is it possible to change the on and off key switch on my Gendex 770 to a flipper/toggle switch?

    It is possible if you find a switch with the same ratings (voltage and amps).

  • The reservoir on my AT2000 film processor keeps filling with water. What is going on?

    You most likely have a failing water solenoid valve. If it was running properly, the valve would be closed not in use. Turn off your unit and unplug your processor. To get to the failing valve, you might have to drain the fixer and developer solutions to get to it. It is easy to replace on your own (we carry replacement solenoids).

  • The roller on my AT2000 x-ray developer stopped working. The rollers aren't spinning anymore. What do I need to replace to fix it?

    The first thing to do is take the rollers out of the processor and see if they spin by hand. If you can freely spin the rollers outside of the processor, your rollers are fine. In that case, you'll need to look at other causes of problems. There could be something in the main motor, in the drive shaft, drive gears, or other issues. If the rack does not spin out of the machine either, you'll need to replace the rack.