Dental Xray Sensor – What you need to consider BEFORE you buy

If you’re in the market for a dental xray sensor either for your startup dental office or an existing office, first thought that comes to mind is where do I even start? or what should I be looking for?

With this video, I discuss the following factors you need to consider when buying a digital dental xray sensor:

  • Image quality
  • Size of the sensor
  • Sensor holders
  • Imaging software
  • Warranty & support

This is a continuation of Part I from the previous video I posted on Digital Dental Xray System – What you need to know before purchasing.

Continue to read on for the full video Transcript:

Let’s get into the second most important piece when it comes to digital x-rays – Your xray sensors.

There are plenty of companies that manufacture dental sensors.

Some of the names are XDR, Gendex, Schick by Serona, Dexis, etc.

So, just like the xray systems we discussed before, let’s get into the specifics of these sensors.

First is the image quality. If you look at the dental sensors manufactured by some of the top companies out there, they all produce great diagnostic quality xrays.

Dental xray sensor comparison

Sure, some may have better resolution or clarity, but you may not be able to tell the difference.

What we really care about is – can I see caries? Can I see decay or any pathology clearly on these xrays?

An important factor that actually affects the image quality is the image management software.

There are a bunch of different ones out there with varying capabilities of modifying and displaying the xray image on the computer.

I’ll get into the software part in a minute.

If you’re ever at a dental convention, and you stop by one of the booths set up by these dental sensor manufacturing companies, the demo images you see on their laptop or their brochures – may not reflect exactly what you see on your computer.

This is especially true if you’re in an existing office with your xray system set up already and you have image management software and you’re simply looking to replace a dental sensor.

So what you want to do is you want to get a demo of the sensor in your office and allow your assistant to take xrays in different areas of the mouth and see how the xrays turn out with the machinery you already have in your office.

Ok, let’s move onto the size of the sensor.

Most of the manufacturers make size 0, 1 and 2 sensors.

The size 2 sensor is your adult sensor.

Size 1 is for kids age 8 and up, and

the size 0 is for the kids age 8 and below.

When you’re starting and considering what sensor you’ll need – you’ll definitely need the size 2 sensor. Whether or not you’ll need the size 0 sensor will depend on if you planning on seeing lots of kids.

If you’re a pediatric office, then certainly you need size 0 and you may even need size 1.

I only use one sensor in my office, which is the size 2. I see kids age 8 and up mostly. My assistant is able to utilize the size 2 sensor for the bitewings and for any time we have difficulties – she’s able to utilize our pano.

So how many sensors should you start with?

Well, you know you should start with one only and as you get busier – you can add more.

Especially if you’re a startup because these things are expensive and I’ll leave it at that.

Next is sensor holders. To take digital xrays, you’ll need sensor holders that’s going to hold your sensor in the patient’s mouth.

Manufacturers have their own sensor holders that go along with their sensors. However, there are universal systems out there.

One of them is XCP by Dentsply, which is what I use in my office.

XCP Universal Sensor Holder for Dental Xray Sensor

I use the XDR sensor which also came with its own sensor holders – which we did utilize in the beginning. However, as we got busier, we ended up ordering the XCP kit by Dentsply, which my assistant got used to using, so we ended up ordering and sticking to that system only.

Let’s talk about the imaging software I discussed earlier. When you purchase a new sensor, it comes with its own image management software. You need to make sure how the sensor and the imaging software will integrate with the practice management software that you have in your office.

Most of the top name manufacturers will integrate with most of the big name practice management software applications that are available in the market.

Don’t get overwhelmed by this – especially if you’re doing the startup route. Because when you purchase the new sensor, the company will provide you the installation and support to make sure that the sensor works wiht everything you have.

Let me briefly mention a word about buying a used sensor.

If you’re going to buy a used sensor, you need to understand that you look into the image management software also and it integrates with practice management software that you have.
So for example, what this means is that if you’re looking at the patient’s chart on the computer, you can, by a single click, pull up that patient’s xrays instead of going to a separate application, then searching for the patient and then pulling up the xrays.

Training – when you buy a new sensor, most of the companies will provide the training to get you started, which means from installation, to calibrating with your existing xray machines as well as making sure your systems can actually use the imaging software to acquire the xrays.

You will, however, pay additional in the future let’s say you’re adding more staff members in the future and you need more training for them – if you contact the sensor companies, they will charge you extra for the training. However, this is usually unnecessary because you can have your existing staff train the new staff.

Let’s talk about warranty and support. Most of the companies offer 1-3 years of warranty, but they don’t cover accidental damage to that sensor.

Let me tell you – your assistant and/or they hygienist WILL drop that sensor some day. And there’s nothing worse than hearing the sound of that sensor dropping on the floor. That’s why the companies offer protection plans, which allow you to purchase a replacement sensor at a reduced cost.

Find out how the company’s support works. If the manufacturer of the specific sensor you go with doesn’t have distributors, then they may work with a certified tech or third party companies that provide the support. But you have to find that out from the company before you purchase the sensor.

Let’s wrap this up guys. There’s plenty of options out there when it comes to dental xray sensors. There are names you’ll hear over and over again – from dental magazines, to online – everywhere. There’s XDR, Gendex, Dexis, Schick by Serona.

I went with XDR system for my office. When I was starting out, I had quotes from Dexis, Gendex and Schick by Serona – XDR gave me the best package available at the time – and it ended up being the cheapest of them all.

But DO NOT let this be the only deciding factor. I spoke to colleagues, I spoke to many people about XDR and see how it was going for them. None of them had problems, I only heard good things about them and that was the reason I went with them.

I paid, when I was starting out in June of 2013 I paid, $6750 for the entire thing, which included one size 2 sensor, the imaging software, the installation, the support. They installed it remotely for me, they trained my staff remotely – which wasn’t much. My xrays were already installed, they calibrated it for me, they also did the bridging to the opendental system, which is the practice management software that I use in my office.

I’ve had no problems so far. I did not purchase the additional protection plan that was offered by XDR after my warranty expired.

I’ve gotten lucky so far and I have my fingers crossed – although the sensor has been dropped multiple times in front of my times that nothing will happen to it. And when it does, I’ll deal with it then.

The point is don’t overthink this guys. If you’re doing the startup route, I definitely recommend the XDR sensors. It works great with opendental and other big name practice management software systems out there.
I hope this was helpful. If you have any questions or concerns, leave it in the comments below or you could reach out to me at Thank you so much for watching and we’ll see you next time!