The S-RAY – Dental imaging without radiation

One of the great things about living in Seattle is that because we are home to so many biotech companies, I often hear about innovative devices before they’re on the market.

I like to see (sometimes) where health technology is taking us.

I just saw a news report on a new dental imaging x-ray that actually isn’t an x-ray because it doesn’t use radiation. Instead it uses ultrasound, and it’s called the S-RAY.

I’ve posted before about the dangers of too much radiation from imaging studies, including dental x-rays. Dentists frequently order x-rays every year, even though the American Dental Association only recommends them for healthy adults every 2-3 years.

Related post: Save money on dental exams

Why so often then? Because dental insurance plans will pay for one set every year, so why would a dentist want to leave that money on the table?

As with so much in health care these days, the burden is on the patient to be informed and know when to say “No.”

Although the radiation dosage from dental x-rays is small, and the cost is not ruinous  (by comparison with other imaging studies), older x-ray machines deliver higher doses, and there is always the risk that the machine is not calibrated properly or is not being used properly.

I like the idea of radiation-free dental exams, and hope this S-RAY device passes FDA approval. I will watch its progress with interest.

I will also be curious to see what it will cost if and when it becomes available to dentists. And how much will they then charge for an S-RAY?

In the news report, “experts” (who exactly?) are quoted as saying “the S-RAY scans will be cheaper than X-rays.”

I hope so, but will believe that when I see it.

Sláinte,

Frugal Nurse

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