8 Things to Consider before Selecting an Intraoral Camera Posted on 22 May 04:31 , 0 comments
8 Things to Consider before Selecting an Intraoral Camera
There’s no better way of showing your patients the problem with their teeth than with the radiographic images of an intraoral camera. Numerous doctors all over the world now use intraoral cameras for instant diagnosis of dental problems and also to gain acceptance for treatment from patients. It is one of the most advanced diagnostic tools available today and is considered a key instrument in successful health management by dentists.
An intraoral camera works similar to digital radiography. It helps oral healthcare experts to capture images of the tooth through a charged couple device (CCD) and processes it to create a viewable image. Dentists are further able to incorporate these images into the patient’s health record for further examination and treatment. It helps in educating patients regarding the status of their dental problem and the reason for the advised treatment. It also helps in earning the trust of a patient, especially in cases where the treatment cost is high or patients suffer from anxiety.
The Need for an Intraoral Camera
An intraoral camera is an extremely useful dental-care equipment. It adds value to the dental practice and has now become indispensable for dentists worldwide. Here are a few compelling reasons that define the need and scope of intraoral camera in dentistry.
- Amazing Visibility
Surpassing the conventional microscope by miles, intraoral cameras offer exceptional visibility and reach the most difficult areas of the mouth effortlessly. In various instances where a practitioner may have doubts in what they see, such as a hairline fracture, a simple click with an intraoral camera can show every minute detail and help in making an informed decision. The amazing visibility of intraoral cameras allow clinicians to chart the future course of treatment based on clear images and understanding.
- Patient Education
The biggest issue clinicians face with patients is making them understand the problem and need of the prescribed treatment. While dentists use magnification techniques to identify the dental issue, patients don’t really get to see the real state of their gums or teeth and are left with the only option of blindly trusting the dentist. Most dental treatments involve high costs, and because the procedures are often painful too, patients are hesitant to believe them. Educating the patient about the dental issue brings acceptance easily. An intraoral camera not only allows the practitioner to clearly see the problem areas inside the mouth, but also allows the patient to see the problem and understand the reason behind the proposed treatment.
- Insurance Claims
Many a time, an X-ray report does not clearly show the true extent of the tooth problem. This may lead to denied insurance claim for patients. However, adding intraoral images to the claim gives the insurance company a better clarity on the extent of the problem, and therefore, considerably reduce the chances of claim denials. For example, in most cases a patient needs a crown because of a large filling and fracture lines. But, a radiograph often fails to show the fracture and may not clearly depict the actual state of tooth decay. Intraoral cameras capture the fine lines of fracture in great detail along with the tooth decay. These images help the insurance carrier in clearly understanding the extent of the problem and positively deciding the claim for the dental procedure.
- Case Documentation
Intraoral cameras help tremendously in cases where practitioners decide to ‘watch’ a particular tooth as they doubt that over time, the condition of the tooth may change and a dental therapy might be required. Intraoral camera images come as a great help in identifying and easily tracking the progress of the dental problem.
Factors to Consider When Buying an Intraoral Camera
Having an intraoral camera is crucial for successful dental practice, but buying a good intraoral camera can be tricky. Here are some factors that will help you in buying the right piece.
- Selecting the Type of Intraoral Camera
There are mainly two types of intraoral cameras: the intraoral wand and the single lens reflex (SLR).
The intraoral wand has the ability of being used inside the mouth, and therefore, requires barrier sleeves. The visualization and clarity of such cameras for the oral cavity is excellent. The images can be viewed almost instantly and it becomes extremely easy to operate. The intraoral wand cameras come with a docking station/USB connection to offer portability. This type of camera is highly effective in reaching the difficult posterior areas too. The camera also offers high-intensity light source and comes with magnification capabilities.
Single lens reflex (SLR) type of cameras come at a lesser cost than intraoral cameras and are thus, economical in range. A variety of automatic settings are available that make photography easy. These cameras offer extremely high-quality images and can be used in other applications as well. Budget plays a significant role in deciding the type of camera and although the SLR camera seems to be pocket-friendly, the high-end features of an intraoral wand camera must be given a detailed consideration before making the purchase decision.
- Integration with Present Imaging Software
To make sure you get the right diagnosis using an intraoral camera, it is imperative that it seamlessly integrates with your present imaging software and practice management software. When deciding which intraoral camera to buy, ensure that your overall workflow optimization is not hampered. If the camera comes with the manufacturer’s imaging software, then care should be taken to check whether the software works with the other imaging systems such as intra-oral sensors, panoramic unit, and more or if it is strictly limited to camera lens usage only.
- The Image Quality Requirement
The image quality of an intraoral camera is crucial for proper diagnosis and effective patient communication. The image resolution along with the other features (auto white balance, and auto illumination) add to the overall image quality of the camera. A high-resolution camera is necessary to avoid pixilation when the image is zoomed or viewed on large monitors. The aim is to get as close as possible to the subject and capture the sharpest image with the largest file size. Large file size can be converted to a smaller size but an originally small size file, when viewed as a large file, lacks the sharpness.
- The Focus of the Camera
The image quality is considerably affected by the exposure and focus of the camera. Generally, for a regular intraoral image, a fixed focus camera works fine. But for the smile shots and full arch shots, a camera with a wide focus range is essential. A fixed focus camera is faster as compared to the manual or the autofocus camera that takes time to adjust the angle. Fixed focus cameras especially work great in paediatric dentistry, wherein you need to get in and out of the mouth as quickly as possible. Endodontics too give fixed focus cameras an upper hand as the majority of the images taken through them are from close range. For professionals experienced in dental photography, a digital SLR works great and further expands their camerawork.
- Installation and Support of the Camera
While this factor isn’t taken much into consideration, it is definitely related to the long-term performance of both, the system and the professional. A camera that has a complicated installation procedure must have support providers located close to your establishment for any sort of urgent troubleshooting issues. You won’t want an installation problem every other day as it adversely affects your efficiency as well. Also, while some practitioners don’t mind the cables and wires and connection boxes, others are very particular about this aspect. When buying a camera, do take these small considerations into account.
- Intraoral Camera Capture Button
The capture button also holds great importance. It should be positioned at a place that allows you to snap an image regardless of the camera’s orientation in the mouth. Various intraoral cameras come with a swipe function that eliminates the need to physically push the button. Pushing the button can slightly move the camera when taking a picture, thereby blurring the image. When buying the camera, ensure that the capture button allows you to take the picture with ease and accuracy.
- Built of an Intraoral Camera
The built of an intraoral camera may not make a difference in the image capture, but a plastic or metal camera body defines the weight of the camera. While a sturdy body is required to ensure the long life of the camera, it is also important to ensure that the camera body is not heavy. A hefty camera may be difficult to manoeuvre, thereby hindering your dental procedure.
- Manufacturer’s Warranty
The high-end intraoral cameras are an investment and it is important to protect them against wear and tear. Also, with such huge purchases, the manufacturer’s warranty must duly protect the camera in case of damage and malfunction. Check if an extended warranty is available with the product. It is always better to protect your camera from future damage and related expenses by putting in a small amount in the present.
The skill of using intraoral camera grows over time with practice. The entire learning curve of adapting to the camera and taking correct fog-free images is not too long, but requires a lot of practice. Ensuring you have the right camera for your needs allows to make learning easy and interesting. Buying an intraoral camera is an investment that will yield you the trust of your patients and enhance the efficiency of your treatments, and therefore, it is significant to select the camera carefully to avoid future hassles.