PRESIDENT'S MESSAGES | SUMMER 2005
By: Craig Dial, CRT
The world of Maxillofacial Imaging has been changing so rapidly, that our centers will never be the same as they were just 10 years ago. We are rapidly transforming into an organization of digital dental x-ray labs. Many of our AADMRT members own and operate digital equipment; some have, in fact, for many years. Most of theses centers, however, also still include chemically run, film-based images. This is what I like to call the hybrid dental imaging lab.
These digital-analog dental x-ray labs take both high-tech digital and old school images. They use chemical processors and darkrooms with duplicators, but they also have servers, scanners, CCD, and flat panel sensors. These labs produce hard copy film (both x-ray and paper) and soft copy (both CD and internet based). The result is a very nice combination packet for the doctor that contains a hybrid of information for treatment and diagnosis. Most of the doctors like it this way; they are getting the best of both worlds. Most of these referrals want to hold onto a little piece of the old world that has some familiarity to it. They know that the field of imaging is changing fast, but some labs and doctors still like to keep a piece of the analog based images, so the hybrid imaging works well for them.
This analog-digital mix helps make the transition to digital imaging a little easier for everyone. The same transition period was necessary with automobiles. When the auto industry first introduced a full electric vehicle back in the late 80?s, few wanted one or appreciated the advantages or the technology that was used to develop these cars. It may have been too much change too soon. Now gas is costing more, and with the new gas-electric hybrids, people are buying them as fast as they can be built. This combination of old and new has been easier to accept by most; it is a comfortable compromise.
Digital dental imaging is here to stay, and it is growing at an astounding rate. Technology is going to continue to morph and evolve, and like the hybrid car, we can learn to embrace technology while still holding onto the familiarity of traditional methods. Ten years ago we did not have much in the realm of digital imaging; ten years from now digital imaging may be all that we have, and this is a good thing. The hybrid-imaging center as we now know it will be a thing of the past; with some of our organization?s imaging centers, this has already taken place.