Properly Disposing of Your Dental X-Ray Machine

The latest advancements in technology have allowed for more and more dental practices to upgrade from film to digital dental X-ray machines. And, in recent years, we’ve even seen a huge push from 2D digital X-ray machines to cone beam. This is great news for patients who are getting better diagnoses and treatment plans thanks to the additional information available to practitioners through these higher-quality images.

However, this also means that more dental X-ray machines need to be disposed of than ever before. So, what do you do with your old dental X-ray machine? Here are a few choices.

Top 5 Choices

1) Try to repurpose the older unit. Can you sell it to a colleague or someone who is just getting started in their own dental practice? This can be more difficult than it sounds when you consider the logistics such as removing the unit from your office, crating it, installing it in the new office, software licensing, ongoing support, etc., but it’s definitely an eco-friendly option.

2) If you can’t find anyone to purchase your old unit, try selling it to a used dental equipment vendor, such as Renew Digital. You’ll want to make sure the company is reputable before engaging in a sale, otherwise it may be more trouble than it’s worth. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do they provide payment at the time of purchase or is there a waiting period?
  • Do they send their own technicians or use third parties?
  • Are they willing to work with your install vendor to coordinate removal with the new installation?
  • Do they have dental X-ray expertise?
  • Do they have dedicated project managers or are you going to have to do all of the work?
  • Is my machine a unit that they purchase? Check their website. If they sell the model that you have, they very well may buy yours.

3) Your third option is to donate the unit. We know of two non-profit organizations (Partners in Health and Project Cure) that sometimes accept donations of high-quality, useful X-ray equipment that is still in good condition. You can also contact your local or state dental association for other organizations in need.

4) The fourth option is to dispose of the unit entirely. If a waste disposal company will accept it, you can recycle the entire unit at once. Of course, you will need to first have it uninstalled by a professional dental service company so that they can properly remove any hazardous components, such as tubes containing lead.

5) Your fifth and final option is to sell the unit in parts for scrap. Again, you will most likely need to enlist the help of a professional dental service company to uninstall and then remove sensitive and hazardous machine components for re-sale.

Things to Keep in Mind When Disposing of a Dental X-ray Machine

Inoperable or unwanted X-ray equipment should be removed by trained and experienced professionals. In some states, these people are required to have certain state-approved qualifications. You’ll also need to report the removal to your state using state-approved forms and/or protocols, typically within 30 days of removal.

Since X-ray machines contain lead, beryllium, and PCB-contaminated oil, special care must be taken to safely dispose of them. The vendor you work with must permanently disable the X-ray machine before transferring it to a recycler.

There are also environmental and regulatory concerns to manage when disposing of an X-ray unit. If your X-ray machine was built before July 1979, it may contain a toxic substance called polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in the transformer oil. If so, you will need to contact a waste removal specialist. Also consider that older equipment may contain hazardous metals. If you find that this is the case, you will have 90-180 days from decommissioning to dispose of the hazardous waste.

You must consider safety issues when removing or disposing of an X-ray. For example, to disable an X-ray machine, you’ll need to remove the head without breaking the X-ray tube. This tube is under a vacuum and if it breaks, it could splinter and cause injury.

You should also take caution to check with your state for details on approved vendors and recycling facilities to make sure they will accept the X-ray. Your state’s regulatory agency will also have specific laws regarding disposal due to radiological and toxic waste laws. For example, some states require a certificate of destruction when an X-ray is disposed.

Make It Easy and Call Renew Digital!

Properly disposing of a dental X-ray machine can be time-consuming and confusing. If you have a newer direct-digital extraoral X-ray or cone beam system, in perfect working order, and a model that we purchase, contact Renew Digital for a quote today. If you’re looking to upgrade, we also offer a generous trade-in value for your current digital model* towards our in-stock X-ray equipment.

*Select models only

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