Dental X-Ray Installations in Open Treatment Areas

The simple answer is yes. The complex answer is how this is done. The Ministry of Labour, also known as MOL, which I will abbreviate for the use of this article, has published guidelines for the safe installation of dental x-ray systems. However, there is a lot of interpretation involved, and no clinic is guaranteed to get approval by simply reading and applying these guidelines, titled as “Veterinary Dental x-ray installation” July 2012.In 2011, I was getting a lot of inquiries from Ontario veterinarians wondering how to install dental x-rays in open treatment areas. Many were getting their applications denied by MOL, and their only option was to install the dental x-ray in their x-ray room (not convenient) or build a separate dental room (expensive). In April 2011, I contacted MOL and asked why this was happening. The response was that the applications all contained information that was not in conformance to the MOL guidelines. I was referenced to an article on the OVMA website called SMILE, but was no further ahead with helping the veterinarians.What next?

I started to dig deeper and discovered, with the help of MOL, that much of it was subject to interpretation. Who’s interpretation? The individual inspectors that approve the applications.  I discovered that what one inspector might deem acceptable, another may not feel the same way. The only way to get the approval process to work smoothly is to apply the rules in a way that all the inspectors could relate to. Door interlocks, for example, had to be defined, even though MOL has no published definition for one. We have had to learn what “engineered controls” means, and how it applied to veterinary clinics. Just learning all the regulations is not enough to get a 100% approval record like we now have, with respect to applying for dental x-ray installations in open treatment areas.

Is it possible to get MOL approval in an open treatment area while having staff working right next to the x-ray system while it takes radiographs? Yes it is, if you fully understand the regulations’ and how to apply engineered controls to them. What about a hallway that passes right through one end of the treatment area that must be accessible at all times? Yes that is also possible too, and we have done it. What if you have 9 access points to a treatment area? We have done that as well. Once we fully understood the global picture as to how to make this all work, we could go to the vet market and guarantee any approval under any circumstances. While some of these claims may sound outlandish they are all true.

Do you have a dental x-ray in a location that is inconvenient now? We can get MOL approval to relocate it where it makes the most sense. It makes little difference on the make or model of system. We can do the removal and reinstallation for you as well.

There are some hard and fast rules that need to be adhered to and they are very clear.  Health Canada has banned all handheld dental x-ray systems across Canada and mobile systems in Ontario. The only exception is that a grandfather clause for clinics that already have an approved system that is mobile (not handheld). Those are still allowed to be used for now.  The rest of the rules are outlined in the MOL document mentioned earlier. However, there are exceptions and variations of the rules that are not published. Keep in mind that MOL’s job is not to tell you how to do this. Their job is to approve/deny applications, and to monitor radiation sites and employee safety. A company like ours proposes a plan and implements it after they approve it.

I would love to share all the inside information as to how this is all done, but that is our proprietary knowledge that took over 3 years to develop.  A lot of trial and error went into building this program. The good news is we do all this at no charge when you buy a dental x-ray system from us. Call us at 1-800-267-4608 and we can make it possible to install dental x-ray systems anywhere you want them to be installed.

Posted in Dental, Equipment Installations.