Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Will the Rising Cost of Silver Spell the End of Dental Film Radiography?

Probably so.
Despite significant increases in the price of x-ray film -- due primarily to the rising cost of oil and precious metals in recent years -- conventional x-rays are not likely to disappear from dentistry any time soon, according to a leading provider of dental imaging products.

That said, it could entice more dental practitioners to begin looking at transitioning to digital radiography.

Carestream Dental announced last month that it was raising the price of its medical, dental, and nondestructive testing films worldwide -- in some cases by as much as 50%. This follows a 25% price increase announced in December. In the dental space, the most recent film price increase was about 9%, according to Robert Patrick, director of U.S. product line management at Carestream, which sells the Kodak line of dental film products and digital imaging systems.

"Silver prices exploded over the last year and a half, which resulted in the increased cost of film across the board," he said.

Not only did silver prices double in the last 12 months, they have experienced a fivefold increase over the last six years, Patrick noted. In addition, oil prices have risen 30% in the last year, which increases the cost of utilities, transportation, and the petroleum-based polyester used in the production of film.

"And all things indicate that precious metals will not be going down anytime in the near future, so we will see film prices continue to increase," he said.
Digital dental radiography has been avaiable for many years now and I am really surprised that film and film processing continues to be used. Granted there is an initial cost to switch over systems, but the increasing costs of maintaining a film-based system may indeed be the last gasp of dental film radiographs.

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