Lejeune updates dental equipment for 21'st century

25 Nov 2006 | Lance Cpl. Patrick M. Fleischman

With more than 50,000 service members and family aboard or around Camp Lejeune receiving medical care the evolution of that care is critical to keep up with a growing population, larger operational tempo and a longer living civilization.

Ten Camp Lejeune dental clinics have upgraded their X-Ray imaging equipment from film to a complete digital imaging system to improve X-Ray quality, reduce waste and environmental impact, save money and reduce the amount of time to see a patient, said HM1 Samuel Kirby, information specialist for 2nd Dental Battalion.

“This new system saves time, money, man hours and produces better quality medical care for our patients,” said Kirby.

Using technology similar to that of a digital camera a charge-coupled device or complementary metal–oxide–semiconductor commonly known as a CCD or CMOS respectively collects X-Rays and stores the information in high-resolution digital graphic files located on servers in the building, said Kirby.

Prior to the introduction of this new system the dental clinics used conventional film, which was developed on site with dangerous chemicals and required a person dedicated to that specific task, said Kirby.

“The investment in this new system will save the Navy large amounts of money just from not having to use film let alone the environment impact of chemical disposal,” added Kirby.

Kirby goes on to explain how a ‘bite-wing’, which is one of many of X-Rays the clinic uses costs $55 for 25 exposures, and the typical clinic uses 100 to 150 per week all of which will be eliminated by the new system.

More important than the monetary impact, the quality of the patient care has been improved due to enhanced resolution of the scanning process, the ability to zoom in on individual teeth and the manipulation of color and brightness in real time at a data station, said Commander Steve Christopher, clinic director of Main Side Dental Clinic.

The system also consolidates all of the images to a central server allowing any dental center to pull up the images at any time or any clinic location, said Kirby.

“Most patients will be glad to know that once their X-Ray is over they won’t have to wait for the development of the results, because the scans show up immediately on the computer station in the Operatory Room,” added Christopher.

This is not just a Camp Lejeune thing, explained Christopher. It being lighter more compact and how it no longer needs a dark room to develop the film has made the system successful in Iraq.

“I was over in Ramadi and we didn’t have to deal with the transportation of chemicals and film allowing for more expedient deployments to places it’s needed,” concluded Christopher.

From the home front to the front lines, this equipment is the next generation of dental care and the patients deserve to have what it takes to be healthy, concluded Kirby.