What should I know to obtain maximum performance from my Chemistry?

First, make sure that the Chemistry selected is appropriate for your equipment and application. If in doubt, check with the equipment manufacturer.  Second, your Chemistry must be fresh. Chemistry is a perishable product.   All Chemistry solutions have a finite life span before they lose their chemical energy and become ineffective.  That means time alone will render the Chemistry useless, even if no film has ever been processed in it.  In addition to age, storage conditions will affect the life and usability of the Chemistry.  For example, Air Techniques Chemistry should not be stored below 40°F.

How does Air Techniques monitor Chemistry quality and performance?

Air Techniques is an ISO 9001certified manufacturer.  As such, the company is required to adhere to a range of Quality Assurance procedures.  Air Techniques Chemistry is subject to continuous testing.  Two types of tests are done: Chemical and Performance.  Chemical testing verifies the ingredient composition of the Chemistry solution.  Performance testing verifies that the Developer actually develops film and that the Fixer actually fixes the film.

What does each solution do?

The Developer and Fixer solutions are well named.  All brands of film chemistry work according to the same basic principles.  When light or X-radiation strikes a piece of film, the sensitized silver compound suspended in the emulsion undergoes an invisible chemical change.  This change creates what is called the latent image.  Developer converts this invisible image to a visible image.  However, this “developed” image is very unstable and if exposed to light or X radiation will almost instantly turn completely black. Fixer sets the image so it is stable in light and permanent, in effect “fixed”.

What is Chemistry?

Chemistry is the collective name for the solutions that are used to process radiographic films.  Most Chemistry for dental use consists of two solutions, Developer and Fixer. Chemistry is a complex mixture of dissolved compounds.  Developer has an alkaline pH.  Developer contains agents to bring out the latent image; accelerators and restrainers to control the development of the latent image; preservatives to protect against oxidation; hardeners to protect the emulsion and buffers to maintain correct pH.  Fixer has an acidic pH to counteract the alkaline Developer.  Fixer contains agents that remove unexposed silver halide grains, thus making the image stable in light; preservatives to extend solution life; hardeners to protect the emulsion and buffers to maintain the correct pH.

Why does Air Techniques Chemistry have a “Best if Used by” date and not a specific “Expiration” date?

Chemistry solutions age and gradually lose their chemical energy over time. Their service life does not end with an abrupt event, as when a light bulb burns out.  Consequently, the day after the “Best Use” date, there may not be any perceptible change.  The ‘Best Use” date is imprinted so users will be aware that Chemistry activity level is or is not within the manufacturer’s performance specifications.