In my practice, the intraoral camera holds a place of importance right up there near the portable dental X-ray unit
and my loupes. The value it can provide in many ways is essential to
any practice. The use of intraoral cameras in daily practice can serve
multiple purposes from patient education to attaching images with
My office allows extra time for new-patient
visits for initial records, radiographs, and periodontal charting. In
addition to those records, I take a series of intraoral images of
existing restorations and any areas I suspect will need future treatment
or monitoring, such as caries, failing restorations, abfractions, and
the general gingival condition.
By doing so, I am able to review
the patient's concerns in addition to any recommended treatment. Going
over the intraoral images with the patient prior to the dentist coming
in for an exam plants the seed within the patient's mind that there may
be work to complete at future visits. It provides me with the
opportunity to answer any questions I can prior to the dentist coming
into the room. In turn, I am able to relay concerns to the dentist to
help mainstream the exam and keep everyone on schedule.
The saying "A picture is worth a thousand words" is so true. In dentistry, it couldn't be more accurate in regard to the use of intraoral cameras.
Using images to explain needed treatment helps patients visualize oral
conditions as well as the possibilities to improve their smiles.
Intraoral imaging is not only used to identify fractured teeth or
periodontal conditions, it can also be used for areas of cosmetic
Intraoral images are necessary prior to orthodontic
treatment as part of the records process in conjunction with
impressions. Images can also be used to show the shade of the teeth pre-
and post- whitening treatment. It can often be used to send images to
the lab when cosmetic restorations are done to match shades or shape of
When I first learned to use a mirror intraorally, it
took a little time to get the hang of it; the use of the intraoral
camera is very similar. There is a learning curve to adapting the camera
to capture the image while trying to keep the lens fog free. I got the
hang of it quickly, and the intraoral camera soon became one of the most
valuable tools I have, especially for patient education and case
presentation. It is essential for daily use in clinical practice and has
the potential to increase production with increased case acceptance.