Dental Xray System – What You Need to Know Before Purchasing

If you’re in the market for a digital dental xray system for your office, it’s super confusing to know where to even start. There are multiple configurations or types of systems available that may fit your needs. But where do you start?

The second important piece in a digital dental xray system is the xray sensor.

There are a whole bunch of manufacturers of dental sensors. So what do you need to think about besides the price when it comes to purchasing a sensor?

Types of dental xray systems available:

In today’s video – Part I, I go over the different types of dental xray systems that are available:

  • Wall-mounted xray units
  • Shared cabinetry
  • Handheld xray systems

In Part II, I go into the different factors you need to consider before purchasing a dental sensor. This video will be released next week, so don’t forget to tune in!

Continue to read on for the full video Transcript:

Hey guys this is Nilay Shah, your host with Dental Startup Academy.

Today’s topic is going to be on Digital Intra-oral Xray systems for your office.

Here’s what we’re going to talk about. We’re going to talk about the different xray systems and  different configurations.

Second important piece is the xray sensors. Your sensor is what’s going to allow you to capture xrays so you can see them on the computer.

I’ll mention some of the big names in the market, and we’ll get into the different factors you need to consider before you purchase one because it’s an expensive piece of investment. So stay tuned!

Welcome back! Let’s get right into it starting with the Xray systems. When you’re considering Xray systems for your office, there are three different types or configurations.

One of the first ones is having a wall mounted unit in an operatory. Basically, each operatory in your office is going to have its own xray machine. This is the most common setup you have seen or having worked for other doctors in other offices. This is the most common setup.

Let’s consider an offshoot of this setup. Depending on the number of rooms in your office or overall size – if you have really small office space, you could have one room dedicated only to Xrays. What this means is that you’re going to have dental xray chair on the floor, which kind of looks like a barber chair and an xray unit mounted off of a wall – sort of how it was like in Dental school.

One negative thing about this is that you have to move the patient in and out of the room from the operatory to the dental xray room and then back to the operatory.

I don’t recommend this set up at all simply because what I’ve just said. For example, consider a root canal. You’re taking working length xray, in between shots and then a final xray – you’re moving the patient in and out of the room 2-3 times for a single procedure. Not exactly convenient for the doctor or the assistant or the patient of course.

The second way to do it is to share the Xrays between the operatories.

This is when you have an xray tube that is tucked away in a cabinetry that separates the wall between two operatories. That piece of cabinetry could actually be part of the wall or could actually be the entire wall separating the two rooms.

An upside to this set up is that now that you’re sharing the xray machine between the two rooms, you’ve saved money buying another unit.

However, what you have to keep in mind is that the cost of the cabinetry, depending on the size and the configuration you choose, and also who you purchase from – maybe eating into those savings.

The other thing you need to keep in mind is that only person can be taking the xray at once – of course this is not a deal breaker, but something you need to consider.

So for this setup, I would really just look at the cost of the cabinetry. If you can buy a used piece of cabinetry for that configuration that allows you to share the xray between the two rooms, you should be ok.

The third way to do it is to buy the portable handheld xray units. There are two well known brands.

First is the Nomad unit by Aribex. And the second is the MaxRay handheld unit by MaxRay Dental.

Let’s talk about a couple of factors you have to consider before you buy a portable unit.

First is the battery. Now these things are portable, so they’re battery powered, so you have to consider the replacement cost of the batteries.

Second is the weight of these devices. If you’re doing few xrays, it’s not a problem. But if your hygienist or your assistant is doing a full mouth series, it can be tiring.

Here are some numbers for you guys.

The MaxRay unit is about 4.4 lbs. All this information is from their website. And the Nomad unit is about 5.5 lbs.

Let’s keep it going.

The third is Safety. Are these handheld units safe to use in the office?

You may be worried about the radiation exposure from using these handheld units. Why is that?

Well because the person taking the xray has to be in the room. What is it you’re concerned about?

Well, if you remember from your radiology course from dental school, there’s always some backscatter whenever you exposure a sensor or film to radiation. And the goal of ANY xray system is to reduce this back scatter. To reduce the backscatter, by law – any handheld ray device must have a backscatter shield installed at the end of the PID. The PID is your position indicating device.

Here’s an independent study done by a company called DIQUAD. This company provides dental xray quality and dose evaluation services.

They pretty much said that these things are safe to use in the office. The study actually concluded that the radiation dose is actually significantly less for handheld units than for the wall mounted systems.

And the last is the price. The MaxRay unit is about $3499 – it actually comes with one battery. The replacement battery is at $399/each. The operatory xray apron with the holster strap is additional $299.

The Nomad Pro 2 goes for little north of $7295 with the battery pack at $699. So it’s little pricy for the replacement batteries.

Now depending on when you buy, the prices may vary by a little bit. Make sure to check online and call them up to see if they’re offering any promotion where they can throw in an extra rechargeable battery, so make sure to check online.

So should you buy a handheld xray unit.

Well, it shouldn’t be the primary device in your office. It shouldn’t be the only xray unit you have.

If you’re going the startup route, make sure to have your contractor install the backing to support the wall mounted xray units – wherever you’re going to have them on the wall.

When you’re ready to add more operatories in the future and you need an xray unit, I definitely think the handheld xray units are an excellent option.

However, if you’re going the startup route, it’s not something you want to start with.


Due to the total length of the video, I’ve cut the video short by splitting it into two parts.

Part II- Xray Sensors will be posted next week, so don’t forget to tune in!