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Who should decide where to do a dental scan?
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When you refer a patient to do an OPG, CBCT, CEPH or Intraoral exam, who should decide where to actually do it? Some dentists and dental professionals believe that since the patients are paying for the exams, it is up to them to decide which imaging center to go to. Patients may insist on a specific location, for example since it is closer to their home or work, or since it costs less there than in other locations. And nobody is happy to argue with his patients. In addition, we should encourage patients’ involvement and engagement, and the voice of the customer always matters, doesn’t it?

Well – the short answer is that it depends. Patients should be allowed to decide on many things. After all – it is their health and their pocket. However, when it comes to choosing the dental imaging facility, it is first and foremost a professional decision that should be taken by the dentist, and not by the patient, for many reasons.

The first obvious reason is that dental imaging is not something intended for patients. DICOM files and OPG images are designed as visual means for assisting the dentist and are not designed for the patient. The dentist’s treatment plan is, to a large extent, directly based on these scans and images. And while patients undergo dental imaging only once or twice in a decade, and then do not have a clue how to read the resulting scans and images, for dentists, in contrast, dental imaging becomes almost an extension of their eyes and their vision sense. Therefore, it is only natural that dentists should decide which imaging services work for them.

The second, less explicit but more profound reason to allow dentists to choose the imaging facility, is that selection is essential. Dental Imaging facilities do not come in one size and colour (to put it figuratively), but rather vary in many important aspects. Imaging centers may vary in the quality of scans – some may have better scanners, better quality management and a more trained team. Imaging centers may also vary in quality of service – some may offer a wider scope of imaging services, stay open late or over the weekend, accept patients instantly without previous booking, provide solid advice and support from in-house dental radiologists, and serve the patients with a smile and a welcoming attitude.

The third reason is that patients should not decide on strictly professional decisions. Do patients decide which dentist chair should be in the clinic? Of course not. Nor do they decide which implant brand to operate with, which bone graft type to use, or which drill to drill with. All these are tools and means for the dentists, and are chosen solely by the dentists, based on the many years of training and professional experience they gained. And dental Imaging is just another professional tool that requires a professional decision, which only professionals can take. In fact, patients will only benefit from a better treatment, if they enable their dentists to treat them with wisely chosen imaging services. And once you explain it to them, they will not argue.

The fourth reason is that dental care should not be compromised. When patients are referred to an oncologist, they rarely say something like “I prefer to go to an oncologist near my work, and not to another neighbourhood.” Patients prefer to go to the best experts available, when it comes to life threatening medical conditions. However, when patients are referred to a dental imaging center, they (and even some of their doctors) may think of it as a commodity. However, as mentioned above, this is not the case. Not all imaging facilities are alike, and only the dentist, who works with them constantly, knows what works best for him and for his patients. In fact, the more experienced and professional dentists are, the more aware and selective they become. And when they do, they never allow their patients to decide where to do a dental scan.

At DentQ, we are proud to be the dental imaging centers of choice to more than 14,000 dentists in 7 countries. Some reasons for the trust we earned are mentioned here. But whatever the reasons are, if you have not experienced DentQ yet, we encourage you to try working with us, get first-hand impressions, and decide on your own if you put your trust in us. After all, choosing the imaging facility that you want to work with should be your, and only your, professional decision.

For DentQ and CTdent branches near you, check here.

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