Learn how to avoid these common mistakes – and save money in the process when buying your dental X-ray machine
by Dentec & William Tan, Radiation Protection Consultant.
As suppliers of dental x-ray machines and builders of dentistry practices, Dentec have evolved with the innovation of dentistry x-ray machines over the past 20 years. The importance of integrating radiation safety from the design construction stage all through to safety compliance has always been of full importance on ensuring the health and safety of Dentec clients and their staff.
In this blog, I talk with Queensland Radiation Consultant, William Tan on the 5 biggest mistakes he finds when working with dentists that could easily be avoided, saving time and money, when equipping your new dental practice with a Dental X-ray Machine.
Here are his useful tips:
“Have you ever bought a dental x-ray machine for your dentistry practice, then realised that you didn’t have the right licenses to own and operate it? How about being audited by local radiation health regulators, only to find that your practice is not in radiation compliance? What about all the confusing radiation licence processes that you have to go through just to own an x-ray machine?
Not being able to identify the correct course of action can be costly to you and your business. Familiarising yourself with these costly, yet common mistakes will save you money and give you the valuable piece of mind.
In this blog you will learn about these mistakes and how you can avoid them. This will help you to take practical action to ensure your practice is in full compliance, and to continue providing the highest level of care to your clients.
Mistake 1 – Not having the right licences for your x-ray machines
You’ve just started a new dental practice and are now about to purchase x-ray machines. The x-ray machine is about to enter your ownership. The supplier prepares to submit the ‘Approval to Acquire’ form to Radiation Health, which requires your radiation possession licence name and number.
Pardon? You have no idea what it is. Then you find out you don’t have these details and until now. You were completely unaware that you needed a licence to possess the x-ray machine.
What next? You apply and are told it could take up to 3 months for processing. You now have an x-ray machine in your practice that you cannot legally use until you have the possession licence.
Possession licence in Queensland gives you the right to possess the machine. Each model of x-ray machine in your dental practice would require this possession licence; for example – intra oral, extra oral, CBCT, laser etc. When applying your possession licence, you would need to submit the ‘Radiation Safety and Protection Plan’ for that model as one application.
If you know the correct steps of acquisition from the start, this will save you lots of time and eliminate a significant amount of stress.
Before purchasing, ask yourself if you have the correct possession licence for your practice?
Mistake 2 – Not having the right approvals for your x-ray machines
After you have received your approved possession licence, you need to submit the ‘approval to acquire form’. This form details the following information:
- Possession licence number
- Type of x-ray machine
- Make and model
- Serial numbers
- Location of use
Each machine will require a separate application. Owning any type of x-ray machine without the right approval could potentially trigger an audit by the health department. Therefore, when purchasing any x-ray machine, you need to ask the supplier for the ‘Approval to Acquire’ form.
Check before buying, to save yourself stress in the long-run. Do you have the right approval forms for each x-ray machine?
Mistake 3 – Not having the right shielding report for your practice
It is a requirement that every room in your practice used for radiation exposure has a shielding report. The shielding report will detail minimum shielding required (or none) for the type of machine used, and also the workload of the room. Each room must have a shielding report.
It’s a common misunderstanding that x-ray machines with ‘low dose’ do not need shielding, therefore they don’t require a shielding report. However, it’s imperative to understand the following. Shielding of a room is not to protect the patient. Rather, it is to evaluate the safety of the practice for the staff working in the practice and its vicinity.
Shielding requirements are based on the following factors:
- Radiation output – different machines have different radiation outputs for typical clinical settings.
- Workload of the practice (per time interval) – this is the number of exposures made per week.
- Distance to point of interest.
- Occupancy of point of interest – different areas have different occupancy values, for example, reception, hall ways, waiting room, surgery, toilets etc.
- Dose limits applied – legislated dose limits for users and public.
To protect your staff and people in the near vicinity, ask yourself the following. Do you have shielding report for each of the x-ray rooms?
Mistake 4 – Not having x-ray machine compliance certifications
This is a common and costly mistake that many dentists make. Every x-ray machine that is in clinical service must have a certification of compliance. In Queensland, this is a yellow sticker for the machine.
- Intra oral (code HR005) – due every 3 years.
- Extra oral (code HR001) – due every 3 years.
An accredited person is only able to issue the certificate after performing the following tests on the x-ray machine:
- Half Value Layer
Save yourself money in the long-term. Ask yourself – do you have a current certification of compliance (yellow sticker) for every x-ray machine in your practice?
Mistake 5 – Not having x-ray premises compliance certifications
This is another common error made by dentists across the country. Every x-ray machine placed in a room that is in clinical service must have a certification of compliance. In Queensland, this is a green sticker. The code is PR100 and is due every 5 years.
An accredited person is only able to issue the certificate after performing the following tests on the x-ray room:
- Primary dose
- Secondary dose
- Leakage dose
- Workload for the room
Protect your staff and others with proper compliance and ask yourself – do you have a current certification of compliance (green sticker) for every x-ray room?
As you can see, operation an x-ray machine in a dental practice in Queensland can be a complicated process. It is very easy to miss certain steps and be deemed non-compliant. This could trigger an onsite audit by the health regulator, which can be stressful, not to mention damaging the reputation that you have worked so hard to build.”
William Tan, Consultant – Radiation Safety, Sieverts
The benefit of more than 20 years experience supplying to the dental industry in Australia
View our range of X-Ray and Imaging Machines. For more information on the range of x-ray and OPGs on the market and as assessment of the most appropriate system for your dental clinic, contact Dentec here, or call 1800 88 44 44.