The Intraoral Camera is a Powerful and Necessary Tool in Dentistry


Intraoral cameras are tiny digital cameras that fit comfortably in your mouth and enable the dentist to show the patient an enlarged image of an individual tooth or an entire smile on a computer screen. The camera is located in the tip of the intraoral wand and transmits real-time video for the patient and dentist to review. The wand is covered with a disposable plastic sheath, similar to an electronic thermometer, to keep the procedure sterile and comfortable.

The intraoral camera is a powerful tool for the dentist. However, not much is written about it, especially as it pertains to Cosmetic Dentistry. It is often difficult to get a clear picture of your oral health. Who can really see into their own mouths properly? Even with special lights and mirrors, a dentist may only get a shadowed view of the details of a person’s teeth. However, with the touch of a tiny, pen shaped instrument, both the patient and the dentist see an enlargement of every detail in the mouth without effort, pain or X-rays as it appears on a computer monitor screen. The technology of intraoral cameras is one of the most important and useful tools to incorporate into the dental office. These cameras originally where stand-alone pieces of equipment that required their own software with cumbersome bridge links to any dental office management software. The help manuals at that time, which you needed frequently, were written for computer programers, not for dentists and dental office personnel. However, the major dental office management software packages on the market today all have the intraoral camera option incorporated into their software, which makes them very easy to use and relatively trouble free. We have found them to be a really important adjunct for our Cosmetic Dentistry. Patients can easily visualize what you are recommending be done to change their smiles with the various Cosmetic Dental procedures, as you show them on the monitor screen.

Not only does this allow observation of what is really happening inside the mouth, but it also allows the documentation of anything that is seen. Any photos are uploaded to a computer. Information can then be printed out to provide a hard copy picture for your records or for procedure verification by your insurance company. Also, these photos can be retrieved at subsequent patient visits and used to compare the current state of their oral health to that which existed previously.

During diagnosis, the intraoral camera helps with clearly defined images that show details that may be missed by standard mirror examinations. It can also be an educational tool, allowing views of the inside of a mouth to confront problems or review procedures as they progress. Seeing your dental condition big and close up for the first time can be surprising. You may never have realized the true condition of your teeth. This camera is an important aspect of patients’ dental care. Intraoral technology can help the patient and the dentist uncover problems before they become serious. This is a crucial part of conservative and preventative dental treatment. This saves money, and it may save teeth! For example, it is easy to see cracks in old amalgam fillings which are not visible with xrays. More importantly, it allows the patient to view this and other types of problems in detail and immediately realize that the condition needs to be corrected before it becomes worse. The intraoral camera can be very useful in detailing what needs to be done to alter, change or enhance your smile using various procedures in Cosmetic Dentistry.

It can also show the level of personal oral care that a patient has used. With the intraoral camera, any areas that may have been missed during brushing or flossing are much easier to see than with a mirror and the naked eye. When conditions such as periodontal problems are caught in their earliest stages, less invasive corrective treatment is possible. It easily and accurately allows the doctor to monitor and enhance what cannot be seen with the naked eye.

In our office, at Brookside Dental, we do a complete examination on all new patients using the intraoral camera. We take a complete series of photos of all teeth and store them in the computer for future reference. These are done in addition to the standard xrays. We do not charge the patients for these intraoral camera photos. They are invaluable as a supplement to any patient treatment plan, because the patient can understand them completely. We have been keeping intraoral camera photo records of our patients for about 7-8 years. It is an impartial assistant at the side of the dentist. We feel it is one of the reasons that we are able to give excellent service to our patients at Brookside Dental.