Understanding oral health is the first step to having a healthy mouth, but without being able to see inside our own mouths, at least not very well, it’s hard to understand a dentist’s methods. In the past, you might catch a glimpse of the problem through a mirror or been sent for x-rays, yet even x-rays only showed one side of the problem. Today, dentists have a whole new way of presenting patients their oral health. Technology has now allowed dentists to share what they see directly with the patients.
An intraoral camera is essentially a high definition minicam on the end of a pen. The camera is extremely small, only a few millimeters in length, but can produce images magnified up to 100 times. The lightweight pen is also equipped with a LED light and a number of buttons that let dentists adjust the focus and direction. Dentists can use the camera to show real time video on an accompanying monitor of what they see. By moving the camera gently around the patient’s mouth, your dentist can take high quality pictures without having to rely on printed images. At the end of use, they just dispose of the protective sheath, much like a doctor’s thermometer.
Intraoral cameras were originally used by the high tech dentists of the 1990s. Before then, dentists used to take complicated x-rays and brace mounted pictures then leave the patient waiting while they processed and printed. An intraoral camera, on the other hand, is used right next to the patient, allowing for immediate consultation. Dentists can easily find plaque, cavities, inflamed gums and cracked teeth and share what they see with the patients. This not only speeds along appointments but makes sure you receive instant feedback about a procedure. You can see before and after pictures of the recommended procedure, get instant information about questions and dentists get to keep a digital record of your treatments. These pictures can even be sent to specialists and insurance companies or help build customized dental plans for the future. It also saves trees by working through a completely digital medium. In fact, intraoral cameras are now used in over 80,000 dentist offices throughout North America.
Technology for the Patients
A dental mirror cannot compare. The mouth is full of tiny spaces, pockets and grooves that are hard to see. Even the most experienced hygienist could miss potential health problems when reflected in a tiny, fogged mirror. Intraoral technology allows for a more in depth diagnosis, giving you the best treatment. This also means an easier, more comfortable look inside patients’ mouths. Flashlights and cheek pulling are a thing of the past when you can comfortably take photos with an intraoral camera.
More importantly, this technology allows dentists to communicate what health concerns they are seeing directly to the patient. Often, dentists’ diagnoses can be confusing, particularly in regards to preventative measures. Oral health education may also be difficult to explain without visuals. If you’re not experiencing pain without undergoing the procedure, it’s hard to understand why it’s being performed at all. By giving you the same evidence the dentists see, you can make the best decision about your dental health and treatment options. Preventative care not only saves your teeth but helps avoid more expensive and complex procedures down the road.
See What We See
TLC Dentistry is a leader in modern preventative oral care. Patients receive the education they need to make the correct choices in their dentistry. See the difference intraoral cameras can make. Schedule your appointment today.