Handheld X-Ray VS Wall Mounted X-Ray
Which is Best for Your Practice?


Dental technology is constantly evolving, offering dentists a range of options to choose from. One notable advancement is the rise of handheld X-ray devices as an alternative to traditional wall-mounted devices. Handheld X-ray machines offer flexibility and mobility, allowing for easy movement between operatories and reducing operational bottlenecks. Wall-mounted X-ray machines are restricted to one fixed location, requiring more in-operatory space and can be challenging for smaller operatories.


Handheld X-ray machines are designed with ergonomics in mind, reducing strain for the operator and reducing the learning curve. They also allow for more efficient workflows but can be cumbersome and time-consuming to achieve.


Handheld X-ray machines are less physically intimidating for anxious patients and pediatric practices, providing a more personalized and reassuring experience when capturing images. They can also be used by patients with injuries or disabilities, offering imagining while reclined, seated, and more.


Mounted X-ray machines are static, ensuring faster sessions but may appear more daunting for carers. Handheld X-ray machines can be more efficient, as they bring the imaging to the patient, reducing time spent shuttling patients between operatories and dedicated imaging rooms.


Handheld X-ray machines offer efficiency and convenience, as they can be used immediately upon arrival and require minimal installation. However, they carry an increased risk of being dropped, but maintenance is straightforward. Mounted X-ray machines require a dedicated space and professional assistance, and maintenance can be more challenging. Handheld X-ray machines have shielded designs to protect operators from scattered radiation, reducing the need for retakes and additional radiation exposure. Mounted X-ray machines require operators to leave the room during imaging, which reduces the risk of radiation exposure. However, older wall-mounted or ceiling-mounted machines may produce suboptimal images, requiring re-imaging and re-exposures.


Handheld X-ray machines offer benefits like reduced installation hassle, fewer maintenance challenges, and increased operational flexibility, making them a more cost-effective choice in the long run. Wall-mounted machines, with a potentially lower initial cost and widespread knowledge of their maintenance, can offer economical solutions for practices on a tighter budget. However, installation, maintenance, and operational inefficiencies can add up over time.


While traditional wall-mounted X-ray machines have served dental practices well for years and offer a more familiar operator experience, it's hard to ignore the flexibility and precision of newer handhelds. Their ease of use also makes newer handheld models an enticing option for practices looking to streamline operations and create the perception of a modern patient-centric practice.

Ultimately, the choice between a handheld X-ray or a mounted X-ray machine will depend on your practice’s budgetary considerations, operational priorities, and your comfort levels and preferences.


To reduce radiation risk and improve safety, ensure you follow these guidelines:

  1. Adherence to protocol and proper operation: Ensure staff are trained, have access to continuing education, and are regularly tested on radiation protocols.
  2. Personal protection: Provide lead aprons, gloves, and protective eyewear to minimize exposure. Operators can use personal dosimeters to monitor their exposure daily, especially for pregnant staff.
  3. Maintenance and monitoring: Regularly inspect imaging devices and protective equipment to ensure proper operation and early detection of damage or wear.
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