What is an intraoral camera?
During a dental check-up, the dentist checks the condition of your teeth, gums, mouth and previous restorations. He or she also checks for any problems or signs of oral disease. For the best diagnosis possible, different methods are used.
Traditional methods, such as a visual examination (with or without a magnifier), a dental explorer and x-rays, are very reliable and still used today. However, there is a great complementary tool that can help dentists in their diagnosis.
The intraoral camera is a pen-sized digital tool. Its small size enables it to move around easily in the mouth to take high-quality images. It can be used in hard-to-reach areas and to see teeth from all angles. It’s a great tool to check the entire mouth.
The intraoral camera is not a new technology. In fact, it dates back to the early 1980s. Since then, it’s been perfected, becoming an indispensable work tool for dentists. The digital images it produces are very precise and it significantly contributes to the quality of a diagnosis.
How is it used?
The dentist can use the intraoral camera while you’re sitting in the chair. It easily fits inside your mouth to check teeth and mouth structures without touching them. Its integrated LED light is very strong and enables the production of superior-quality videos and images.
The images taken are immediately sent to the dentist’s computer, then simultaneously projected on a large screen for the patient to see. Both the dentist and the patient can view the images in real time.
Multiple possibilities, one technology
1) Diagnosing issues
Used in combination with traditional diagnostic tools, the intraoral camera precisely checks any section of a patient’s mouth. Small details that could go unnoticed with the naked eye are easily detected by the camera. In addition, it can enlarge images 40 to 60 times and brightly illuminate the inside of the mouth. All of these features are very useful for a diagnosis.
With this tool, the dentist can detect:
- Cavities at an early stage
- Cracks on teeth or fillings
- Oral cancer or an anomaly on soft tissue
- Dental wear
- Prosthesis problems (crowns, bridges, etc.)
- Implant problems
An intraoral camera is used if a concern was raised during the initial diagnosis. The quality of the images produced by the camera help the dentist confirm or negate his or her hypothesis.
2) Communicating with patients
Because the images can be viewed by the patient, the intraoral camera also serves an educational purpose. The dentist can use it to:
- Inform patients of any oral health problems, especially if they’re asymptomatic like gingival recession
- Explain the necessity of any proposed treatment. By seeing the cavity, crack or broken filling, patients can better understand why a treatment is needed
3) Monitoring the progress of treatments
This technology is also very useful to monitor the progress of a treatment. Images taken during check-ups are archived in the computer so that they can be accessed at any time and used to compare before and after conditions. Patients can see that the treatment is working and view the final results.
4) Storing and sharing information
- Because the images are stored in the patient’s electronic file, they can easily be accessed by the dentist. If needed, they can be printed or emailed directly to a specialist
- Digital archives are also useful when an insurance company needs justification for a treatment plan. The required documents can be quickly sent to the insurer
An intraoral camera is much more than a diagnostic tool. It can educate patients, help in decision-making for proposed treatments, archive images for an easier monitoring of treatments and enable digital sharing of information.
This technological innovation enables patients to see their mouths in ways only dentists could!