As dentists continue their move towards a chartless or paperless practice, they are incorporating many newer technologies which assist in this goal. However, many fail to realize that there are systems which have been around for some time, but they have evolved considerably during the past few years. While digital radiography is getting most of the recent attention, the number of offices using intraoral cameras is estimated to be at least four times the number of offices with digital radiography! Most offices using intraoral cameras find them to be indispensable, so it makes sense to evaluate the various camera systems available to find the best fit.
Are intraoral cameras still viable?
In a word, yes. The biggest competition to intraoral cameras has been the plummeting cost of extraoral digital cameras. The image quality of these extraoral cameras is typically far better than any intraoral camera; resolution is higher and the shutter speed is quite a bit faster. However, the main advantages of the intraoral camera are its ease of use and how quickly you can see the images. With an intraoral camera, you can have an image on the screen in a few seconds. With digital extraoral cameras, you need to turn on the camera, use retractors and/or mirrors, frame the shot, take the picture, and then download the image into your software. Hygienists and staff usually prefer the intraoral cameras because of this. I do feel both systems are a great addition to any practice, and that each has its own ideal clinical application.
The first and still most popular camera systems on the market are the fiberoptic systems. These systems typically use very high-end optical systems to produce the best image quality possible. The light source is in a separate “box,” and with a fiberoptic cable running from the box to the handpiece. Until very recently, these were the only type of intraoral camera systems available. While the image quality is above average to excellent with most camera systems, there are a few reasons why some offices didn’t find these cameras to be a good fit for them. The camera and box are quite heavy, and they are difficult to move from operatory to operatory. Some of the original camera systems were so heavy that a cart containing all of the components (camera, light source, monitor, and printer) was suggested as the best way to handle this issue. As any dentist knows, though, when the camera isn’t a few inches from your fingers when you want to use it, it’s not going to be used as much as it should be. One of the solutions offered was to put a docking station in each operatory. While this made carrying the camera much easier, it added around $1,000 to $1,500 per operatory to the overall cost.
Because of the challenges of moving fiberoptic cameras, a number of manufacturers in the past few years have developed USB camera systems. These cameras are typically very lightweight. Unlike the fiberoptic systems, the light source is built into the handpiece - usually a ring of lights around the lens. This allows the camera to be extremely portable and to be easily moved from room to room. Since these cameras use standard USB connections, they can be easily attached to any computer.
However, as with all systems, there are pros and cons. All USB devices require a small piece of software called a driver to be recognized, so USB cameras will only work with specific software programs. You’ll need to check with your image software vendor to determine which cameras are compatible with what you have.
Compare the two types of camera systems in use before deciding on the one that meets your requirements for image quality, cost, portability, and ease of use.
ProDENT Dental Intraoral Camera
Our affordable intraoral camera provides all of the features and benefits you find in cameras that cost 10x as much. Top quality imaging chip and lens produces clear, vivid images of the entire mouth.
We understand how important it is that the intraoral camera you choose is not only the best quality and easiest to use, but also that it easily integrates with your dental imaging software.
ProDENT Intraoral Cameras are fully compatible with DEXIS & Apteryx, as well as reported functional w/ EagleSoft, PracticeWorks, SoftDent, DentiMax, AbleDent, CliniView, ProfSuni, Digora, and more!
Going to the dentist means seeing, hearing about, and experiencing a variety of tools that are unfamiliar to most patients. These odd-looking tools may cause patients some anxiety—we understand that. The intraoral camera, however, is nothing to be nervous about. This tool will cause you no pain, and you may even have fun during your exam! If you haven’t been examined with one and are wondering just what is an intraoral camera, scroll down to learn how it can benefit you.
Intraoral cameras (IOCs) are cameras used by dentists or doctors to show a patient the interior of their mouth, as an alternative to using a mirror. They were first introduced in 1989 and are now widely used in dental offices. IOCs allow the patient to see a clear picture of the inside of their mouth, aiding the dentist in consulting with them on various treatment options. Images can be saved to a patient's file for future reference.
The wand form factor is the industry standard, lightweight, compact, and maneuverable in the patient's mouth.Various design options are also available:
- Wireless or corded with PC-USB, VGA, RCA, or S-Videoconnectivity
- Lightweight (approx, .25 lb / 110g)
- Fixed or variable focus mechanisms (Dial and Slide)
- Magnification up to 100X
- Angle of view 0˚ or 90˚
- 45˚ mirror attachment
- Periodontal pocket probe attachment with scale for measurement
- Attachment for single tooth closeups
- Fingertip image capture or foot switches
- SD cardstorage
- Specialized imaging software
The short answer is that an intraoral camera is a tool your dentist uses to examine your mouth in as detailed a way as possible. The instrument, which may look like an oversized pen, has a camera that takes high-resolution footage or images of a patient’s mouth and shows the visuals real-time on a monitor—they’re like high-tech versions of the hand mirrors you see in your dentist’s practice. There’s much more to intraoral cameras, though. These tools are:
Better for the dentist.
Intraoral cameras have incredible technological features. With LED lighting, a head that rotates from 0 to 90 degrees, and powerful magnifying capabilities (some cameras can zoom in up to 100x), your dentist can examine your mouth in extreme detail. This means he or she can make diagnoses more accurately. The office can attach these photos to your health record to make tracking any changes simple. Additionally, because the visuals from the intraoral camera appear on the monitor as they’re taken, your dentist can discuss your oral health with you while you both see the images or footage. Which also means these cameras are . . .
Better for the patient.
Each feature that benefits the dentist also benefits the patient—maybe even more. Your dentist understands symptoms and conditions thoroughly, but it’s often difficult to explain precisely what is happening in a patient’s mouth using just a mouth mirror, which is small and hard to see, or an x-ray image, which takes time to print and doesn’t display images clearly.
When your dentist uses an intraoral camera during your examination, however, you’re seeing exactly what he or she sees right then. Dentists can display clear, colorful images, allowing them to point out any issues and discuss them with you immediately. You’ll certainly learn a lot about your mouth! And the more you see and understand, the more confident you can be when making treatment decisions.
Many offices will print or email images for their patients so you can refer to them at home look for changes yourself. Because these images are processed immediately, it saves you time.
Better for insurance claims.
If you want coverage for a treatment, your insurance provider often needs visual proof of your condition. Just as the high-resolution images show you exactly what’s happening in your mouth, they do the same for your provider, bolstering your treatment case. And again, because print or digital copies are so quickly available with an intraoral camera, it saves time for you, your dentist, and your provider, making your treatment run smoother.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Maintenance Guide for ProDENT Intraoral Camera
Keep the camera protected by a camera sheath at all times (including when not in use)
If needed, use a damp soft cloth to softly wipe the camera body only. Avoid the sensor/LED light area!
Do not wipe the camera with benzene, thinner, Discide or Glutaraldehyde
Do not spray cleaning liquids or disinfectants directly on the camera hand piece or the USB cable
Use care not to allow liquids to run into internal circuitry
Black screen problems for Intraoral Camera after windows update
"It's impossible to see an image on the screen and also to capture it after upgrade to Windows 10 ver 1703 (15063.250) same problem"
"my previous PD740 suddenly stopped working within the dental USB software.I have re-installed fresh software and it says it is working but the capture screen is blank. The camera light comes on and it works/captures within windows (via control panel - camera devices). The computer has had no changes to it. Please advise."
some customer meet this problem, there is no video output, only black screen. but the light is on.
windows make some regular update and some update in win10 meet this problem.we have contact with Microsoft and confirmed this is a bug. It will be fixed sooner or later.
first open the "device manager" then go on "device image aquire" then "video USB device" then select the "driver" tab then "udpdate the driver" then "search driver on my computer" then "choose driver from list on my computer", make sure that compatible devices is on and select 'video USB device"
, click on "NEXT" to install the driver; finished and the cam will work normally.