CLAYTON – It wasn’t that long ago that Suzanne Cano’s mother was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, something her daughter attributed to dental x-ray overexposure.

“When I was a dental assistant, I remembered the challenges I had when I took dental x-rays on patients,” Cano told WRAL TechWire.  “The most common problem is missing the shot and having to retake, leading to overexposure.”

She was determined to find an alternative. Working out of her garage in Clayton, Cano began to design a device that she thought would streamline the process and enhance safety.  Next, she took her drawings to a computer-aided design (CAD) specialist to “work out the mechanics.”

Good dental care may help prevent a second stroke, UNC research says

Meet LunaLiteDV

After several iterations, the end result is LunaLiteDV, a compact, strap-on device that uses embedded software and a laser light to better mark angles for intraoral x-rays.

Unlike current dental positioners that can be “bulky, antiquated and cumbersome,” Cano’s device attaches to the x-ray machine.

“It finds the proper degree of angulation, and laser light will appear on the patient’s anatomy, and a beep will sound off indicating the x-ray is safe to be taken,” said Cano, who has worked in the dental field for 27 years, starting off as a dental assistant before transitioning into management and selling digital solutions to dental offices.

Dental diagnostic x-rays are an essential part of the dental practice.  X-rays expose patients to relatively low radiation doses.  However, some studies have concluded that there are potential cancer risks from frequent dental x-rays over time.  And good quality dental care may prevent a second stroke for patients who’ve already experienced one, a recent study found.

LunaLiteDV, founded in 2020 and “completely bootstrapped,” plans to launch the device in the dental and veterinarian markets next month.

LunaLite device attached to x-ray machine.

After that, Cano said the company could go nationwide, using local distributions across each state, within each market segment. “With a strategic partner, we hope at some point to take it global,” she said.

She’s also pushing the industry to become more inclusive.  According to Cano, it’s male-dominated sector “with only a few females.”

“I want to be part of that change.”