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Dental intraoral camera is one of the most important types of equipment that you can encounter in a dentist’s office. In a dental clinic or practice, one of the things that stands out on entry is the various pieces of equipment that the dentist uses for the many procedures. It is said that a dental practice is as good as the equipment it has, which is not far from the truth.
The dental intraoral camera is an essential piece of equipment that has of late been a mainstay in the dental care center setting. So what is this equipment, and how does it work? To answer these questions to your satisfaction, we are going to go deeper into understanding this dental care gadget.
What Is A Dental Intraoral Camera?
The dental intraoral camera is clearly defined by its name, which implies it is a camera. However, unlike the other cameras, the dental intraoral camera is used to view the inside of the oral cavity in checking out for issues that may be problematic such as an infection.
It has a slim design which allows it to go in perfectly into the mouth without causing any discomfort. The camera can be used to provide hardcopy images for observation by the dental care expert.
Though with advancements in technology, specifically in photography, there is no need for hardcopy images. It is so because the photos can be viewed from a monitor and stored entirely in a USB drive or any other storage material.
The dental intraoral camera comes with features such as a lighting mechanism that makes it easy to capture clear images of the oral cavity.
Brief History of the Dental Intraoral Camera
The first uses of the dental intraoral camera can be traced back to the early 1980s. At the time, the photography sector was growing and hence spread its wings to the dental industry. Initially, the cameras were big and too much space on the premises. The photos would take some time to get processed due to the exposures step which was a mainstay in photography. However, the situation improved with the use of express photos.
For videos, the video would first need to be recorded and stored in a video cassette which would allow it to be played in a video cassette recorder player. The whole process of getting the videos and images and showing them was rather hectic, but at the time it seemed more convenient.
The cameras also came with such a hefty price tag making it affordable by mostly the established dental care centers. The quality as too not that perfect but did the job at the time.
Over the years with improvement in photography, the intraoral camera has also improved. From the big and cumbersome early machines of the 1980s, we now have handheld cameras that are easy to handle.
The images are of perfect quality and do not require you to carry a video cassette or hardcopy photographs. You can view the images on a monitor in the dental clinic or have the pictures on an external storage source. With cloud technology in storage, the dental centers have online databases with images and videos from the intraoral cameras for reference purposes and documentation.
The LED lighting is also an improvement from the past’s lighting mechanism and provides proper illumination of the oral cavity.
How the Dental Intraoral Camera Works
As earlier indicated, the dental intraoral machine is a camera that captures the inside details of your oral cavity. On how it works, it is inserted into a patient’s full open mouth where it captures images or videos of the oral cavity.
The images captured can either be produced as hardcopy photograph image or as is the case now it can be observed on a computer monitor or screen. When it comes to the use of computer screens, it is more convenient as the dentist can conduct an operation simultaneously while at the same time observing the images.
Most of these intraoral cameras are of high quality and help in giving a clear depiction of the oral cavity. Clarity is essential when it comes to pointing out various conditions in the mouth, such as infections that can be hard to notice.
The videos and images, both hardcopy and softcopy, can be used for reference purposes when it comes to subsequent visits or in the case of other medical conditions. They are also used in medical insurance claims.
Types of Dental Intraoral Cameras
There are two types of intraoral cameras:
- The single reflex lens dental intraoral camera
- The intraoral wand.
The intraoral wand looks like a wand and comes with a variety of features such as the LED lighting, high definition camera, and significant zooming capability.
The single reflex lens intraoral camera can be used for other applications as well and comes with high-quality imaging. It has a different automatic setting that makes its operation very easy.
Situations Where the Dental Intraoral Camera Comes In Handy
There are many situations where the dental intraoral camera can come in handy, mostly to the dentists, especially in pointing out issues affecting the oral cavity.
The following are some of the situations where the dental intraoral camera can help out the dentist.
- In the assessment for conditions affecting the oral cavity.
- To help out with some complex dental procedures. This can be seen in situations where the areas of concern cannot be viewed properly. The camera, with its ample lighting, will help in the perfect observation of the regions.
- The dental intraoral camera can be used in checking the teeth’ outline when coming up with a design for dental modification such as implants or braces.
The listed are some of the many situations where the dental intraoral camera can come through to help the dentist in his or her scope of work.
Benefits of Using Dental Intraoral Camera
The dental intraoral camera is not featured in dental clinics for mere decoration and comes with a lot of benefits both to the dentist, the patient, and the entire enterprise.
Highlighted below are some of the benefits of the intraoral camera in various settings.
1. Benefits To The Patient
As a patient, the following are some of the benefits of visiting a dental care center that has a dental intraoral camera.
Good Visualization Of Your Condition
It is usually hard for you as a patient to observe your oral cavity and know where the problem is. Mostly, this is due to the remoteness of the oral cavity and also how dark it may be. The best that you can come in most times in visualizing the mouth and its structures is by using the mirror where you will have strained a lot.
With the camera, you can accurately look into your mouth and see the extent of an infection, injury, or any other condition. With such proper visualization, you can know what measures to take to avoid being in the same situation. Additionally, you also know what areas need more attention in dental care with guidance from your dentist.
The images and videos that the intraoral camera produces are mostly of high quality. As a result, they come in handy when it comes to documentation or for future reference. You can either opt for hardcopy images or softcopy that you can store in a storage media for reference purposes.
The images can also be used when claiming for medical insurance as due to their high quality, they are a good source of medical evidence that is a requirement when pushing for insurance claims. Besides, the images and videos can stay for long with minimal risk of deterioration make it a good option for future use.
Allows You To See The Dental Procedures You Are Undergoing
The videos from the dentist’s intraoral camera can serve your curious eye during a dental procedure. You can check the progress of any process that the dentist is conducting on your mouth by looking up at the monitor where the videos are projected. It may be interesting to watch as compared to sitting on the dentist’s chair staring up on the blank ceiling.
The Camera Is Good For Education Purposes
The images and videos from the intraoral camera can come in handy for educational purposes. As it has been said severally, the pictures and videos are of high quality, and you can see the mouth cavity in detail. It can be used to educate you or other patients in matters dealing with dental health such as the diseases that can affect the mouth and how to properly take care of the mouth.
The images can also be used to educate you on the progress of various conditions and how to curb the growth in maintaining perfect dental health.
It Is Comfortable
One thing about the dental camera that cannot be overlooked is the comfort that comes with it. The camera is slender in design, making it easy to fit into your mouth without gagging or overstretching your mouth for proper examination. All that is needed from you is to open your mouth for a set duration slightly, and all is good.
As compared to the examination using the open eyes, you have to admit that it is way comfortable as you are not required to open your mouth so wide for visualization.
Improved Accuracy Of Given Medication
The intraoral cameras are very efficient in pointing out the root of the problem in the mouth. It has advanced features seen in its excellent lighting and a camera head that is capable of 90 degrees movement. When it comes to hard-to-locate areas in the mouth, the camera plays the role perfectly and quickly highlights such areas helping in its proper assessment.
With proper assessment, it is possible to come up with appropriate medication to curb the condition at hand. In the long run, the accuracy of the meds improves.
2. Benefits To The Dentist
The following are some of the benefits that the dental intraoral camera has for dentists.
For Proper Visualization Of The Oral Cavity
The oral cavity is very remote in the situation and needs a lot of work for proper visualization to allow for assessment. The intraoral camera steps in such a position to help for the appropriate viewing of the mouth activity. As earlier indicated, the camera has a rotating head capable of 90-degree movement in addition to excellent led lights. Both the light and rotating camera head make it possible to view the inner structure of the mouth, even the far hidden areas.
Coupled with the monitor, the visualization is just perfect, and as a dentist, it is easy for you to make a proper assessment.
In Conducting Operations
Still, on the visualization part, the camera allows you to conduct operations on the oral cavity without any hassles. With the perfect, high-quality display on the monitor, you can correctly view the structures that you are operating on with an excellent view.
When it comes to operating in remote areas in the mouth, the intraoral camera makes a good companion.
In any medical practice, documentation is vital more so when it comes to the purpose of future reference. The images and videos that the dental intraoral camera provides are good sources of documentation. The quality of the photos and videos are superb and can be stored for such a long time without any deterioration.
The images can be stored in the cloud storage that you can sign up for a vast storage capacity database. The storage gives you proper documentation for your patients that you can use in case any medical issue recurs or presents itself a new.
It is also vital for your patients when it comes to claiming insurance benefits for their medical coverage. It is so because insurance companies demand evidence of the medical condition, and photography is one of the best pieces of evidence.
Ease In Handling
The intraoral camera is good in handling due to the slender build that allows it to be inserted into the mouth without any issue. When it comes to the assessment of the mouth, it makes the job way more comfortable, overcoming many hurdles such as visibility and the location of remote features of the mouth.
Also, it requires no experience to handle the camera, and any dentist can comfortably handle it and get used to it in a short time.
Early Detection Of Conditions Of The Mouth
The dental camera is also beneficial to you as the dentist concerning the early detection of conditions during your patients’ regular checkups. The camera is vital in the detection of diseases such as gum problems, dental cavities, and other conditions. The early detection of these conditions is critical in coming up with a proper treatment plan that will counter the progression of the diseases, which is akin to control.
The Camera Is A Statement Of Professionalism
The dental camera speaks of your professionalism as a practitioner. It is so especially if the images and videos are of high quality, which speaks more of how you do your work.
3. Benefits To The Whole Enterprise
The dental practice, most of the time, is an enterprise that apart from providing dental care services is also set up to gain profit. Having the dental intraoral camera has the following benefits to your dental practice.
Attracts More Clients
More clients are going to pay a visit to your dental clinic if you have a great set of equipment for various procedures. The intraoral camera can attract clients in droves more so those who want a perfect view of their oral cavity for documentation purposes.
An increase in clients directly translates to a rise in revenue able to sustain your dental enterprise.
Boosts Your Practice’s Credibility
Credibility is one thing that determines your portrayals to the outside world, especially your target audience, patients. Most of the time, clients will pick a dental clinic based on how lucrative it is, and its lucrativeness is contributed to by the set of equipment it has.
With the dental intraoral camera as an addition to your equipment set, the credibility of your dental clinic will improve. In the long run, this means that you will have numerous visits from clients, a revenue boost.
A Good Return On Investment Capability
The main reason why you get a piece of equipment to add to your practice is to improve your revenue streams aside from making work more accessible. The intraoral camera as an investment is the right decision as you can recoup your funds due to the stream in the number of clients.
For Recording Purposes
A business needs to have all its records for many purposes. In the medical setting, records are essential for reference purposes. The images and videos from the dentist’s camera can be quickly recorded and stored digitally for future use. With backup and cloud storage, the records can be easily found and are not prone to damages or losses.
In Edging Out Competition
Competition is one of the factors that determine the longevity and success of your enterprise. One thing that can set you on a clear path in dealing with fierce competition is the service you provide and how you deliver it.
The intraoral camera adds the prestige factor to your enterprise, making it stand out from the rest. When it comes to competition, it can edge out its competitors due to the dental photography services that many clients will appreciate.
Buying Guide for the Dental Intraoral Camera
When going to purchase the dental intraoral camera, there are many things that you need to get right before sealing the purchase deal. A look at such considerations is helpful as you are going to get a perfect dental camera dependent on your specifications.
The buying guide to the perfect dental intraoral camera focuses on the factors that you need to consider, among other factors. Let us look at the considerations you need to have in check.
Factors to consider when purchasing a dental intraoral camera
The following are some of the factors that you need to put into consideration when buying the dental intraoral camera.
Demand For Dental Photography Services
Before you make the step in acquiring the intraoral camera, you need to be sure that there is enough demand to recoup your investment. The demand pool should be sufficient enough to generate revenue to boost your capital from the dental practice.
If not, you can try and sensitize the people around the location to create a demand pool and bring the camera onboard. Lack of demand may make the machine obsolete and earn the tag of a poor investment decision.
Cost Of The Intraoral Camera
The price is one of the critical factors that you need to consider when getting a dental camera. You need to ensure that you get the best camera at a relatively affordable cost. The cameras come with a quite hefty price tag to ensure you get the right bargain worth your spending.
Dental intraoral cameras with the best features usually come at a hefty price tag due to their ease of use and also their lucrativeness. You can try and level up the elements and the price to get a balanced bargain where the price is affordable, and you get to enjoy some top range features of the camera.
Alternatively, you can opt for second-hand intraoral cameras. Used cameras are way cheap and may come with a host of the desirable features. You, however, need to ensure that the whole unit is working from the cameras to the monitor. This is to prevent additional costs in repairs that may bring the overall cost near to the buying price of a new one.
Availability Of Spare Parts
You also have to consider the availability of spare parts when looking for an intraoral dental camera. The availability of spares is essential, especially in situations where the camera is damaged. If it is damaged, you can quickly get the required spare parts to have it running once again. The lack of spare parts may ground the equipment; hence, it does not serve its purpose in the dental practice.
When having spare parts for consideration, you need to look at the place where the camera has been produced or assembled. It is advisable that you go for locally made or assembled dental cameras as outsourcing for spares is easier.
For foreign-sourced cameras, getting the spares may be such a hassle and time-consuming. This is so especially when you factor in making the order, importing the spare, and clearing it at the entry point.
In the same vein, you also need to look at the availability of professionals who can repair the oral cameras when damaged.
The oral dental cameras come with a variety of features that serve to make secure their handling. Some of the features that you can get in the cameras include the zooming capability that allows for magnification of hard-to-see structures in the mouth.
Other features include LED lighting, USB connectivity, and also Bluetooth or wireless features. For the Bluetooth-capable or wireless cameras, handling is secure as there is no cord connecting the camera to the monitor. Therefore it cuts off the restriction that comes with corded cameras, especially in movement.
As earlier stated, the more features that a camera has, the more costly it may be. When looking for this assortment of features, be prepared to spend a fortune to get the perfect dental oral camera.
Compatibility With The Imaging Software You Have
You also need to look at the compatibility of the camera concerning the imaging software and technology that you are using. Ensure that the camera you are purchasing can be used with your image processing software and also other integrations that you have installed in your dental practice such as sensors and the panoramic unit.
If the camera comes with its software, ensure it is also compatible, and upgrades are guaranteed. This helps you when the software is out of date, and you can easily update it and get back to work.
Quality Of The Image
When talking about cameras, the main focus is on the result, the image. The image or video needs to be of high quality that can be used for future reference without any diminishes in the state. The same applies for intraoral cameras where you need to look at the image quality before making a purchase.
Check the image quality in terms of image resolution, zoom, white balance, and contrast, among many other aspects. As usual, a camera with the best image quality comes at a higher price, so note this.
Warranty on purchase is crucial as you are assured of a replacement in case the camera develops any issue while on use. When checking on the warranty, make sure that the warranty terms are friendly and that it extends for a reasonable period.
To have a guarantee on getting a warranty, go for credible dealers who most of the time are popular in the dental camera field. Additionally, also check on the company’s customer support service in case you have any queries. With excellent customer service, you can get clarity on the warranty, especially on how to redeem it.
Image Capture Technique
One more thing to consider when purchasing the intraoral camera is the image capture technique that you are comfortable with. There is the pedal and button capture modes. For the pedal, you press on a button-like mechanism with your foot to capture images of the oral cavity. The pedal capture can be a little bit strenuous, especially when you consider the fact that you, as a dentist, will be on your feet for most of the time.
The button capture, on the other hand, is more convenient but has the downside of succumbing to force and moving aimlessly. If not careful, it may go more in-depth, resulting in your patient choking or even capturing blurry images.
Some cameras come with the timer mode that allows a set of photos to be captured at a given time. The timer mode is more convenient and comes with minimal strain.
Another factor that you can put into consideration is the space available for the camera in the dental center. The new generation cameras do not require much space like the older versions. You need ample space for the monitor which may go in the wall and movement space for the entire unit.
Also, factor in the security at the premises as you do not want to lose your equipment even before recouping your investment.
These are some of the factors that you need to be considerate of when looking for the perfect camera for your dental practice. Other factors that you can check on include the camera’s powering, camera type, and also focus.
Maximizing the Use of Your Acquired Dental Intraoral Camera
So you have acquired the dental intraoral camera, and it is working all perfectly, right? There is still something missing its maximization. Maximization transcends how you are using the camera to get the best out of it or make it durable and such.
There are many ways through which you can get the best out of your acquired camera. The following are some of how you can maximize the use of your dental intraoral camera and get the best out of it.
Ensure It Is Disinfected And Sterilized After Use
The dental practice where you have your dental camera installed is a medical scene. All medical scenes need to be aseptic to prevent the transmission of infections. As such, it is vital to ensure that the cameras, especially the wand-type that is inserted into the mouth, are disinfected.
Disinfection of the cameras goes a long way in getting all infections under control and curb the spread from one patient to another. Ensure you clean the camera with a solution of rubbing alcohol with some water. Soak a gauze or cotton ball and squeeze out all the liquid and clean the camera with rubbing motion. Be sure not to let the liquid get into the camera as the camera is a piece of electric equipment and contact with fluids can damage it.
Have A Proper Maintenance Schedule
A piece of equipment is as good as how you maintain and service it. The same applies to dental intraoral cameras. To get the best out of it, you need to ensure that you have a proper maintenance schedule that sees you service it regularly.
Servicing goes deeper to ensuring you regularly replace worn-out parts and fix areas that need some retouches. Cleaning is also part of servicing and apart from the sterilization, you can also dry clean the whole installation and dust the monitor.
Having a proper maintenance schedule is vital in avoiding small issues that if not attended to can go overboard, costing you a lot in repairs and replacements.
Get The Right Software For The Intraoral Camera
You also need to have the right software to run the dental intraoral camera and the whole unit. With the right software, you are assured of the proper working of the intraoral camera system, which results in high-quality imaging and adequate storage.
For the software of the camera, be sure that is compatible with the one you have installed in your practice for the proper integration of activities.
Other software that you can include in addition to the camera system’s software, including image optimization, antivirus, and also enhancement software to boost the existing programs.
Go For Cloud Storage
The images from the dental camera are most of the time of high quality. Being of the best quality means they occupy a lot of storage space in the selected storage media of your choice. If you insist on the external storage media, you will have small storage to your access, and you may end up purchasing much external storage media as a result.
Here is where cloud storage comes to your aid. Cloud storage is a data maintenance, management, and backup service model located over a network or the internet. Cloud storage allows you to have maximum secure storage with ample backup that is helpful in case you lose the images.
Sign up for a reliable cloud storage provider where you can store all your files, including the images and videos securely.
Give Training To Your Assistants At The Practice
With such excellent equipment at your practice, it is noble that your assistants know how to use it for proper handling and helping you as the dentist in some situations. It is therefore advisable that you train your assistants on how to use the dental intraoral camera.
Once you have the camera show how it is used the same as the maintenance protocol to keep it in good shape.
Go For A Bigger Display
You can also go for a larger display where your patients can have a perfect view of their oral cavity. Apart from showing how professional you are, the patients also have a clear glimpse into their condition. This helps come up with a dental care plan that is suitable for your patient. This also goes a long way in boosting your relationship with your patients.
Have An Efficient Power Source
To have an interrupted session while assessing the mouth cavity using the dental camera, you need to have an efficient power source. Makes sure you have a stable power supply that will serve you effectively in addition to curbing secondary situations such as damage due to excessive power surges.
The wireless cameras have rechargeable batteries that make them convenient to use. For them, you need to have an excellent working charger and reliable batteries that can store power for long without the need for constant charging.
Advertise Your Services For Exposure
One of the main reasons that you can have a dental center set up is for profit, hence the dental center is a business enterprise. The driving force behind any business enterprise is the clients, who in this case are the patients. Therefore, your center needs to have more clients for the business to remain afloat.
To get the clients, the best way is to advertise your services to attract them in droves. In the advert list your services including photo assessment using the dental intraoral camera. Being a new service, many clients will come to your center to have a sample of a unique experience.
Use The Images In Filling For Insurance Claims
Having listed the dental photo-assessment services among the services you offer, make the best out of it by filing insurance claims with the photos or videos as evidence. The images are concrete proof to warrant compensation to your patients. With patients seeing the need for the service, they are going to appreciate it more and use it extensively.
These are some of how you can maximize the use of your newly acquired dental intraoral camera. Apart from making the camera use, it also improves its returns, and you can recoup your investments in such a short time.
The dental intraoral camera is one of the types of equipment that you should not miss having in your dental care practice. It is instrumental in many situations and helps you as the dentist in the assessment of the oral cavity and also in diagnosis.
Having a look at its many benefits introduces you to how lucrative it is in your practice, and it beats logic as to why a dental center would not want such equipment on its premises. The factors to consider when purchasing one have been highlighted the same as to how you can maximize its use after its acquisition to boost your dental practice. The dental intraoral camera from Universadent is one piece of dental equipment that you should not miss at your dental center.
Gail Williamson is a Professor of Dental Diagnostic Sciences at Indiana University School of Dentistry and currently serves as the Acting Assistant Vice Chancellor of Faculty Affairs in the IUPUI Office of Academic Affairs.
A veteran teacher, Prof. Williamson has received numerous awards for teaching excellence during her academic career. She is a co-author of several Radiology textbooks and author/co-author of multiple book chapters, journal articles and continuing education monographs. She presents continuing education courses on topics in Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology nationally and internationally.