Inside Dental Assisting
Phosphor Plates: Handling and Processing Tips
What clinicians and their staffs need to know to make the most of this new method of dental imaging.
Phosphor plate imaging is the fastest-growing segment of the dental imaging market. Phosphor plates, also known as PSPs, have several advantages and some disadvantages when compared to dental sensor imaging. On the plus side, the handling and positioning of PSP plates is virtually identical to film, and thus an easy transition for a practice switching from traditional X-ray film. Like film, PSPs are flexible and can be well-tolerated in the posterior regions of the mouth—unlike rigid and bulky sensors. A disadvantage of PSP plates is that they require “processing,” while with sensors, the image is available virtually instantaneously. For those dentists who have either chosen phosphor plate imaging or are considering this technology, the handling of these plates is critical to prolonging plate life and achieving consistently well-processed images.
All PSP plates are light-sensitive, and must be placed in an envelope when used. All operators have their own criteria for selecting the ideal envelope. Considerations include ease of plate insertion and removal, speed of sealing and opening, and whether the envelope is black on both sides for total light blocking or has one black and one translucent side. Prolonged exposure to light does “bleach” a plate of the image it may contain, so how an office manages plate processing is a critical component to choosing which type of envelope is best for that particular practice.
There is no “one size fits all” answer to these multiple concerns, but one manufacturer has developed a line of envelopes that offers elegant yet simple solutions for optimal PSP handling. Flow Dental is a leading manufacturer of PSP envelopes, accessories, and imaging products for film, PSP, and sensor users. Flow’s Safe ’n’ Sure PSP envelopes come in three styles: Deluxe, Econo, and OPT (for plates with magnets). Flow Dental has a product to meet every operator’s preference.
For those who prefer a translucent-sided envelope, there is the Deluxe Safe ’n’ Sure envelope. The Deluxe comes with a translucent side so the operator can visually verify that the plate is loaded correctly, with the correct side facing the X-ray tube. This is a critical concern that helps to eliminate costly, time-consuming retakes. Second, Deluxe Safe ’n’ Sure features the unique E-Z Glide tab (Figure 1). The E-Z Glide acts as a slide, allowing the operator to smoothly and effortlessly insert the plate into the envelope (Figure 2). Once inserted, the extended tab is easy to grasp and remove. During tab removal, both sides of the envelope come together to form an air-tight, water-tight seal. The Deluxe envelopes also have a center seam tear line. After exposure, the operator simply flexes the tabs to tear open the envelope along the central seam (Figure 3). This allows the operator to remove the plate quickly so light will not affect the image, and without excessive handling, which can reduce the plate’s effective use and/or damage the plate. Flow Dental’s Deluxe version also loads and unloads along the vertical side of the plates, which makes for easy loading into most phosphor-plate readers.
For those operators who prefer a two-sided blacked-out envelope that opens along the horizontal side, Flow Dental has the Safe ’n’ Sure Econo style. Although the Econo version does not have the E-Z Glide tab or the center seam tear line, it has recently been improved with the addition of a unique scallop-cut thumb-notch tear line. As the operator opens the envelope after exposure, the tear line forms a thumb-notch that allows the operator to easily slide the plate out of the envelope (Figure 4). This unique new feature saves the operator time and reduces handling of the plates.
Last but not least, for those who use plates that incorporate a magnet, Flow Dental has designed the Safe ’n’ Sure OPT envelope. Like the Deluxe, the OPT features Flow Dental’s E-Z Glide tab for fast plate loading. In addition, the OPT includes cardboard inserts, which most manufacturers of plates with magnets insist on. Flow Dental pre-loads the cardboard inserts halfway into each envelope. This feature not only speeds up plate insertion, but also prevents the plates from being loaded incorrectly, as the magnetic dot must align with the circular cut-out on the cardboard insert.
Whichever features are important to your practice, there are multiple envelope options available from Flow Dental. All Safe ‘n’ Sure Deluxe, Econo, and OPT envelopes come in sizes 0, 1, 2, and 3.
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The preceding material was provided by the manufacturer. The statements and opinions contained therein are solely those of the manufacturer and not of the editors, publisher, or the Editorial Board of Inside Dental Assisting.