Intraoral cameras are changing the face of routine dental appointments. The intraoral camera gives the patient a unique view of each tooth - enabling them to understand diagnoses and make informed treatment decisions. Drs. Laura Ellefson and Kasia Marelich use intraoral cameras to shows patients the condition of their teeth and communicate on possible outcomes and preventative or treatment options.
The intraoral camera is connected to a computing unit at the side of the dental chair. A pen-sized wand is inserted into the mouth, and a movie of the inner mouth is created. This movie can be magnified more than 30x to allow every aspect of the teeth to be viewed in full color. The intraoral camera is an incredibly valuable tool, which brings dentistry to life.
How can the intraoral camera help?
Utilizing intraoral cameras is a completely comfortable process for patients, and provides an honest assessment of the teeth. Here are some of an intraoral camera’s main uses:
- Dental education – Education and preventive care are highly important in dentistry. The intraoral camera can expose areas where home hygiene may be deficient. Any problems can then be resolved before complicated treatments are required.
- Exposing hidden problems – Conditions like gum disease and oral cancer may display easy-to-miss symptoms in their earliest stages. The intraoral camera can more clearly highlight these issues to the dentist and the patient.
- Treatment planning – No matter how well a dentist might describe a condition, it is easier to understand the issue if it can be seen. Seeing tooth decay and problem teeth helps patients understand why certain treatments are recommended for maximum health benefit and aesthetics.
- Assessing progress – Some treatments impact the teeth slowly. The intraoral camera allows treatment to be modified along the way, if necessary, to ensure the desired results are achieved.
- Eliminating uncertainty – One of the most common patient fears is that a dentist is performing unnecessary treatments. The intraoral camera highlights problem areas, so that individuals are less likely to refuse necessary treatment.
- Referrals to specialists – On occasion, a patient may need to be referred to a specialist for complex treatment. If this specialist is able to view clear images of the teeth in advance, consultation times and costs can be reduced.
How will the intraoral camera be used?
The intraoral camera is the size and shape of a pen. It is covered with a disposable sheath, to ensure that no germs are transmitted from patient-to-patient. The slim wand is inserted into the mouth and rotated until clear pictures of every tooth can be recorded. The images are transmitted onto a television screen in movie format. The movie can be paused, and images of individual teeth can be magnified to allow the dentist to explain and explore any noticeable problems. One of the biggest advantages of the intraoral camera is it does not expose patients to radiation. The intraoral camera is one of the most useful and versatile diagnostic tools available.
If you have any questions or concerns about the intraoral camera, please contact your dentist.