Taking dental x-rays with the traditional wall-mounted x-ray units may be ancient history for offices equipped with the new NOMAD portable x-ray system. This new system is a cordless, battery operated x-ray generator. It uses a DeWALT battery and its charge allows for more than 100 exposures; the battery also charges in less than one hour, and according to the manufacturer, one battery can be charged about 100 times. The total weight of NOMAD is just over eight pounds. The unit has an external scatter shield, which absorbs direct backscattered radiation from the patient, and the radiation exposure from leakage backscatter radiation is much lower than federal and occupational limits. This system can easily replace two to four wall-mounted units, and thus the cost of $6,848.00 is quite comparable to traditional counterparts that would have to be placed in each operatory.
I am a general dentist located in the Dallas, Texas area. I have practiced dentistry for close to 30 years. My practice also includes endodontics, periodontics, orthodontics, implant placement, and oral surgery. This brings me to the reason for my recent purchase of the NOMAD portable x-ray unit. I currently have four operatories, but I am in the process of building a new office that will include six operatories and an associate. This would have required me to purchase two more wall units plus the inconvenience of inspections and maintenance on six units, verses two portable units. Conversion to Nomad use would seem to be ideal for a D.D.S. doing new construction or updating his or her office. The replacement of wall units with Nomad has cosmetic and economic value.
I wanted to test this unit prior to moving into my new location to determine whether this “new technology” would be beneficial to our new practice. My assistants and hygienists have been utilizing this unit over the past few months. To date, the positive feedback outweighs the negative from the staff. Some of the positive responses include infection control, which involves wiping with a non-alcohol based disinfectant wipe. This is less time-consuming and more cost-efficient than bagging wall mounted units. The ability to stay in the operatory with the patient means less time that the film remains in the patient’s mouth, which means increased patient comfort. Adjusting the exposure time on the unit is convenient. Full mouth x-rays take less time with the portable unit than with wall mounted units, although the weight of the unit can be wearing for certain individuals, especially if the person already has back or neck issues. The quality of the exposures seems to be the same as wall mounted units. The negative aspect would be the concern of repairs, and uncertainty of whether the Aribex will still be available in the next five years. We have not had a problem with the unit but are concerned about the unit dropping or falling. The unit does not have a secure holster or stand to place it on or in when not in use, and it is a little top heavy to set it on its battery.
Overall we have determined that this system is beneficial. We will continue to utilize this system, and we plan to purchase more units in the near future.
NOMAD Portable X-ray
Portable unit allows for multiple room use, decreased time for taking radiographs.
Unit is over 8 lbs, longevity a concern with a new product from a new company.
The Bottom Line
This low-dose x-ray generator has potential to be a great addition to the office, but its true value may lie in remote and foreign clinics and disaster recovery situations due to its portability.