that do all
Why intraoral cameras are essential
to patient education
B Y AMBER AUGER, RDH, MPH
Educating our patients is a vital role we play in achieving oral health. Visual
aids are essential to allow the information to be accessible and to the patient.
In fact, 83% of the population learn and retain more when visual aids such
as photos are used when explaining a new concept.
1 Implementing an intraoral camera will allow the dental professional to clarify, establish, and
coordinate specific concepts that will create urgency for treatment.
Clinical studies (Araujo MR) evaluated the effects of using an intraoral
camera during periodontal therapy.
2 The goal of the study was to determine
the psychological, behavioral, and clinical effects of utilizing an intraoral
camera. This particular intraoral camera study was conducted with the
The study involved a total of 78 adult patients who divided into two
groups (with the intraoral camera and a control group).
2 Through the evaluation of the patients once a
week, during the appointment,
and four mouths later the study
determined that the use of a
camera “improves the clinical,
behavioral, and psychological
determinants of periodontal
health four months after
Intraoral cameras are best
implemented when each room
has its own camera, preventing the clinician from having to search for it.
Utilizing the computer or additional monitor will allow the clinician to
enlarge the image and describe the condition of the tooth. Educating patients
with an image of their particular teeth will increase the level of engagement
and begin the conversation for providing a solution.
For example, if a patient is skeptical that they need to replace an amalgam
restoration, show the patient the stress lines, wear, and discoloration,
comparing the condition to a healthy restoration. Capturing photos of the
current condition of the teeth will allow the patient to better understand
their state of oral health.
Intraoral images are a powerful educational tool that clinicians can
use to discuss treatment options with a patient.
Visually documenting the patients’ specific risks, such as leaking
restorative margins, stress fractures, and inflamed gingiva increases
urgency for the recommended treatment.
patients with an
image of their
will increase the
level of engagement
and begin the
providing a solution.
continued on pg. 72
When capturing the photos, gently rest the camera on the opposing
tooth. This will allow the camera to be more stable, resulting in a focused
image. Create a system of which quadrant will first be photographed.
Having a system of capturing this will allow the clinician to be effective
and efficient with numbering the teeth in the image, which leaves more
time for educating the patient.
To effectively utilize the camera, take a of photo of each tooth, and each
surface should be captured, especially when establishing a baseline for
comparing future photos. Photos can be used as a baseline to demonstrate
the progression of the issue.
Begin the conversation when focusing on prevention, and create a
powerful educational experience to promote patient compliance.
Once the images are captured, label the teeth in the photo to allow for
easy assessment at future dates. Intraoral images should be taken at least
once a year, demonstrating updates with visible changes in the tooth or
tissues. The initial or baseline photos can be compared as the tooth changes
and be used to educate the patient on why treatment is necessary.