The Revolution of Dental X-Ray Sensors: Overcoming Fragility with DC-Air™

The Long-Standing Issues with Dental X-Ray Sensors

If your dental practice has used a digital x-ray sensor, you have probably experienced the headache and expense that comes with their inevitable failure.

Dental x-ray sensors, while effective in their purpose, have been known to be fragile and prone to failure due to their internal structure and cabling system. This fragility is a significant concern for dental professionals who rely on these tools for accurate diagnosis and treatment planning.

The conventional x-ray sensor is composed of a “fragile sandwich” of internal components, including a scintillator, fiber optic plate, CMOS or CCD detector, and a complex wiring system (Mounce, 2016). The sensor’s cable, in particular, is a common point of failure. It is subject to constant bending and twisting, which can lead to internal wire breakage and sensor failure. This design flaw not only affects the longevity of the sensor but also impacts the efficiency of dental procedures and the overall patient experience.

Figure 1: Delamination of scintillator layer leaves watermark artifact in radiographs.
Figure 2: Internal composition of a conventional sensor included a scintillator bonded to a fiber optic plate, CMOS detector, circuit board, and cable assembly.

The DC-Air™ Eliminates the Sensor Cable and “Fragile Sandwich.”

The DC-Air™ sensor by Freedom technologies Group is designed with a unique, cable-free structure that removes the common point of failure found in traditional sensors. Internally, it is the first sensor to use direct conversion CMOS technology that removes the need for a scintillator or fiber optic plate layer and replaces them with homogenous silicon-based components. This innovative design significantly enhances the durability and reliability of the sensor, ensuring that it can withstand the rigors of daily dental practice.

To validate the robustness of the DC-Air™ sensor, three rigorous tests were conducted: Temperature Shock, Random Free Fall, and Bite Force (Athlos Oy, 2023). Each sensor tested went through at least one of the tests, with one sample sensor enduring all three tests.


Temperature Shock Test (Accelerated Lifecycle Test)

In the Temperature Shock test, three DC-Air™ sensors were subjected to extreme temperature changes, from -30°C to +50°C over the course of several hours, to simulate the harsh conditions these sensors may encounter in the field. All three sensors passed this test with flying colors, demonstrating the DC-Air™’s ability to withstand extreme temperature variations over several cycles.

Figure 3: Setup in temperature shock chamber. Eurofins 2023.

Random Free Fall Test

The Random Free Fall test was designed to mimic the accidental drops that can occur in a busy dental office and often spell doom for the conventional, FOP sensor. Two DC-Air™ sensors from the previous test were dropped ten times randomly from a height of over three feet and various orientations onto a steel surface (which is much harder than flooring used in the dental practice). Both sensors survived all falls without any functional damage, proving their superior durability and shock resistance.


Bite Force Test

Lastly, the Bite Force test was performed on one of the sensors from the previous two tests to assess its resilience against the strong bite forces it might encounter during intraoral use. The DC-Air™ sensor withstood a force of up to 160 PSI, the highest end of the average human bite force according to the literature, further attesting to its robustness.

This test was performed with a hydraulic press that applied pressure to the sensor at various contact points. Steel bolts were ground to emulate the shape of the occlusal tooth surface to apply pressure to the sensor.

Figure 4: Test point 1 in setup

In the end, all three sample DC-Air™ units showed no sign of damage or change in function from the rigorous tests they endured. By eliminating the cable and fragile internal components, these sensors offer a more durable and reliable solution for dental professionals. In other posts, we discuss the additional benefits offered by DC-Air™, especially pertaining to diagnostic image quality, ease of use, and patient comfort / experience.

For more information on the DC-Air™, including pricing, please contact our FTG Imaging team at 855-664-1953 or info@ftgimaging.com.


Mounce, R. (2016). Maximizing the lifespan of the digital sensor. Dentaltown, 74-77. Retrieved from https://www.dentaltown.com/Images/dentaltown/magimages/0716/MBXRpg74.pdf

FTG Imaging. (2023). DC-Air™ Product Sheet. Retrieved from https://ftgimaging.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/02/DC-Air-Product-Sheet-2023-Compressed-1.pdf

Athlos Oy. (2023). DC-Air™ Environmental Testing Report. Retrieved from https://9299038.fs1.hubspotusercontent-na1.net/hubfs/9299038/DC-AirTM%20Environmental%20Testing%20Report-1.pdf