Intraoral x-ray procedures comprise a significant part of the services provided in most US dental offices. It has been reported that retakes and cone cuts are a noticeable problem in many dental offices, plus patients are becoming increasingly more concerned about unnecessary radiation, especially to their children. A revolutionary new x-ray add-on device, Tru-Align™, provides a cost-effective solution for your patient’s concerns about excess radiation while also helping your staff provide improved x-ray images. Significantly decreased scatter radiation, improved diagnostic quality images, plus almost zero retakes!

Purchase Tru-Align today at the special price of $595 - a savings of 25% off the normal price - through April 30, 2012. Add Tru-Align to your cart below, or visit our Tru-Align Page for more information. Enter code INTRAORAL when checking out, or call us at 855-IDI-XRAY and mention code INTRAORAL.

As featured in the First Look column of the Jan/Feb 2012 issue of Reality Now...

Taking a dental x-ray image has never been a simple task. Witness numerous x-rays that are cone-cut, foreshortened, elongated, and overlapped, not to mention over or underexposed and the problems are quite apparent. Even though digital technology allows us to see errors instantly and correct them with retakes, this approach wastes time and subjects patients to unnecessary radiation. A better method of lining up sensors with tubeheads has been a need crying out to be met.

At the same time, scatter radiation is also an issue that receives little attention since the adverse effects may not be seen for many years and/or may manifest in ways difficult to trace to dental x-rays. But that doesn’t mean it should be ignored, since it is our responsibility to keep patients as safe as possible while they are under our care.

Now there is a device that promises to solve both positioning and collimation problems. Tru-Align, with a tagline calling it a “Laser-Aligning Collimination System”, attacks these issues with clever engineering and design. It consists of two parts: a tubehead extension that converts round cones to a more ideal rectangular shape and a magnetic attachment ring that positions a sensor or film holder into proper alignment.

Rectangular collimation seems to be one of the most practical methods when the ALARA (As Low As Reasonably Achievable) Principle is considered. It has been estimated that a radiation dose can be reduced by 60% when rectangular collimation is utilized. But using a rectangular collimator to achieve consistent alignment has not been easy for many operators. Tru-Align is designed to overcome these difficulties.

The tubehead extension measures about 13cm in length and can be secured onto virtually any round cone via an innovative locking mechanism that allows easy installation and removal so it can be quickly moved from room to room. This locking mechanism features a green plastic ring with an internal rubber-like gasket. There is a simple, pop-open lock that allows the ring to open and then it can be placed over the end of the round cone. It is then tightened and locked securely into position. Viewing the internal aspect of this backend shows you how the round tubehead is converted into the more desirable rectangular design. 

The main middle section is white plastic that also displays the change from round to rectangular. The connection between the green locking ring and the main white section allows 360 degree rotation so the front end can be positioned optimally. 

But it is this front end where all the real action takes place. The black plastic “face” hides the internal magnets and the laser pointing generator. According to the manufacturer, the infrared laser beam reflects off a sensor or film that is secured in the alignment ring. This alignment ring, which of course is really rectangular, uses magnets to attach itself virtually automatically to the extended tubehead. When this alignment is properly executed, two green LEDs illuminate to indicate all is good and the image can be exposed. The connection force of the magnets has also been calibrated to release the attachment if the patient moves or the tubehead drifts. 

However, it’s not quite that simple. The operator still needs to place the sensor or film holder into the mouth properly – Tru-Align cannot overcome poor basic technique. In addition, some digital sensor holder arms (the metal part that connects the ring to the sensor holder biteblock) do not fit securely into the receptacles in the Tru-Align Ring. This means you may have to purchase these arms from a third party such as Flow Dental. While this may be viewed as a nuisance, it is probably a small price to pay to gain the benefits of Tru-Align. 

So how does it really work? Our preliminary clinical trial found that it helps even relatively inexperienced operators with a reasonably flat learning curve. It’s not quite “plug & play”, but pretty close.

If you choose to purchase this system, the manufacturer has created a marketing program called “A Green Zone Practice: Reduced Radiation for Greater Patient Safety”. This program includes a window emblem, counter card, brochure, referral card, letter, and e-mail. In the competitive environment that we all operate, these types of media go a long way to helping attract patients.

With benefits such as cutting down on scatter radiation combined with laser positioning, simple installation, and a reasonable price, this is a system that warrants serious consideration.