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by Roxy Buschel VN, Glen Iris Veterinary Clinic, Malvern, VIC
We use this portable dental X-ray unit to take full radiographic images of every dental patient we treat. It’s fantastic to be able to see what’s going on under the gumline.
What’s good about it
It allows for a full, confident work-up on our patient’s mouths. It’s wonderful to know we’re not missing anything that could be painful for them. Once the training is completed and you start using it, it’s easy to set up and operate.
A dental plate is positioned within the patient’s mouth, the X-ray is taken, and the plate goes through a processor connected to a laptop. Depending on the size of the plate, the image takes between 15 and 30 seconds to appear on the screen.
It’s important that the plate and generator are angled correctly so there’s a clear view of the crown and the root. Once you understand the equipment, the structure of the mouth and how to shoot, it becomes very intuitive. It takes me about 10 minutes to do a cat’s mouth and about 15 minutes for a dog’s mouth.
The reason I really like this piece of equipment, aside from the patient care, is that it can be operated by the nurses. It’s an important skill they can perfect and it gives them confidence in their technical ability. Taking the X-rays then doing a scale and polish helps get the nurses involved in the full process of looking after our patients.
What’s not so good
It can take a bit of time to get the hang of it and ensure the angles are right every time. Radiation protection is essential, and all other staff have to be at least three metres away when taking a radiograph. That requirement can sometimes interrupt other procedures in the practice.