Super digital dentistry: S-RAYS to replace X-Rays

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Cleaning, drilling, and the dreaded X-rays. It's all part of going to the dentist.

But now, one part of your checkup could soon get a whole lot better.

Kari Yorkey has entrusted her beautiful smile to the same dentist for 33 years and she knows her weaknesses.

"I do like candy, I also drink coffee," Yorkey stated.

But through all the cleanings and cavities, there's one part of coming here she doesn't look forward to.

"A lot of people will ask if they can put it off, either you know, for a financial reason or you know, differences in understanding of radiation and the amounts that go with that," Matt Hatzke, DDS, Dentist at Silicon Valley Dental Care said.

But now, instead of forcing these uncomfortable bitewings into your mouth, or exposing yourself to radiation, a new dental scan called the S-RAY may be coming to your dentist's office. It connects to a laptop or tablet and does everything X-rays do and more.

"Digital X-rays require radiation, S-RAY does not," explained Scott Parker, DDS, Executive VP of S-RAY.

The S-RAY mouthpiece scans the teeth with ultrasound sensors. It's similar to technology doctors use to see an unborn baby. Within a minute, the s-ray can give dentists a closer look at what's going on.

Hatzke explained, “An X-ray can show cavities between the teeth, it can show bone level, it can show certain amounts of bone loss.”
Parker also explained, “The S-RAY scan can provide four things. We can image cracks and cavities in the teeth, as well as provide 3D modeling and soft tissue data.”

Typical images from an X-ray and S-RAY differ in imaging.

"Miniaturization allows for smaller and smaller components with faster and faster processing speed, creating the next step in digital dentistry." Parker said.

The U.S. company behind S-RAY is seeking FDA clearance. Experts believe S-RAY scans will be cheaper than X-rays. As for safety, there are studies that show radiation from X-rays may cause benign tumors, which wouldn’t be a concern with the S-RAY because it only uses ultrasound, no radiation.

To read the research summary for today's story, click here.