Intraoral Cameras: Informing Dentists and Educating Patients
The IOC is an educational tool that will enlighten patients in a way that description alone cannot accomplish. — Jill C. Obrochta, RDH
Most patients are famliar with the use of video and photography in medicine. Endoscopes examine all manner of body parts and conditions with minimal discomfort to the patient and tremendous benefits to their doctor. Likewise, dental practitioners have the intraoral camera to examine sectors of the teeth and mouth that are otherwise difficult to visualize. “The improvement of intraoral photography is one of the single largest developments in dentistry since I started work in this field,” says Dr. Brian Steele. As mentioned by educator and dental hygienist Jill Obrochta, intraoral photography both informs the dentist about their patient’s true condition while educating the client about the state of their teeth — in living color.
Intraoral Cameras and X-Rays are Partners in Imaging
Dental x-rays are an essential diagnostic tool for dentists. With x-rays we see inside the tooth and beneath the gums and jawbones. The intraoral camera (or IOC) adds another layer of knowledge, by showing the condition of the outer enamel and the soft tissues of the tongue, mouth and gums. With digital technology, it is possible to represent a single tooth at forty to fifty times its actual size. This allows the dentists at the Sacramento Dentistry Group to look for cracks, cavities and imperfections that an x-ray cannot reveal.
The IOC also enables our dental team to show our patients exactly what the camera sees via chair-side monitors. Reading radiograms (the results from x-rays) can sometimes take considerable experience, but a crack, hole or chip in a tooth, magnified on a computer monitor, creates a recognizable image from the patient’s own mouth. The Sacramento Dentistry Group also uses IOCs to identify potential cancerous oral lesions or cysts via the clear and high quality digital images.
How the Intraoral Camera Works
An IOC is shaped like a wand. A lens at the tip of the wand provides autofocus and light to create in-focus images. As the technician prepares to shoot a picture, we may dry a tooth with a dental air nozzle or gauze, chiefly to limit reflections from saliva. The results are instantly available for both patient and dentist to see and discuss. Your dentist receives needed information and you develop a better understanding of your current state of dental health. The end result is a greatly improved visit and another important record in your own dental history.
If you would like more information about how the Sacramento Dentistry Group makes use of IOCs, feel free to arrange a consultation. During a regular dental exam we thoroughly check your teeth and oral tissues for signs of decay or disease and to optimize your dental condition. Feel free to allow our dentists to “expose” your state of dental health with the benefits of intraoral cameras! In our next blog post, we’ll look at how extraoral cameras, basically digital SLR cameras adapted for the dental office, also contribute to monitoring your health while educating you about the real condition of your teeth.