Who knew “selfies” would be applicable to dentistry! Intra oral cameras have been used in dentistry for over 25 years, but with the advancement of technology and the digital age, they are becoming a standard in the dental practice. In my opinion, it is the single piece of dental equipment that has completely revolutionized the way we view dentistry.
The intra oral camera has given me the ability to show my patients images of their teeth magnified and blown up on a computer screen. This has allowed me to diagnose with the patient. Not only do they hear from me what their teeth look like, but they also see what their teeth look like as well. Previous visits to the dentist would make patients trust with blind faith that the dentist is properly diagnosing and treatment planning. By taking pictures, I have allowed my patients to see what needs to be done and why it needs to be done as well. They also have the ability to fully evaluate their oral health by viewing existing restorations, gingival health, and cavities that may not be seen by the naked eye. Combining the xrays with the pictures now leaves no doubt in the patient’s mind of treatment that needs to be done.
Not only has the camera been a great addition to the patients, but it has also helped doctors in many facets. One area that has been beneficial is treatment acceptance. By the patients having the ability to view their dental problems, they are more inclined to accept the treatment that is proposed. In a world where people want the ability to control, the patients understand the concept that the diagnosis is now done both by the doctor and the patient. Cameras have also allowed the dentist to have a record of before and after pictures of cases that were performed in the office. This allows the patients to see what their teeth looked like before any treatment and how things look when treatment is complete. This ranges from things such as decay removal, replacing amalgams, crown and bridge work, gingival and periodontal treatment, and big cosmetic cases. These photos can also be used to educate and show future patients any treatments that are rendered in the office.
It make take longer to perform an exam on a patient, but at the end of the day they appreciate the time and effort that goes into the patient fully understanding their oral health. I want the patient to leave my office knowing that we are trying to provide the ultimate patient experience and that starts with educating the patient about their present conditions. So next time you come to the office, be prepared to take a bunch of “selfies!”