The latest technology in dentistry is giving patients an inside look at their teeth and a better image and understanding of the state of their dental health, according to the Academy of General Dentistry, an organization of general dentists dedicated to continuing dental education.
The intra-oral video camera, now used by some dentists, allows patients to see their teeth up close and in color using a pencil-sized wand with a tiny lens that is pointed to any area in the mouth. The dentist zooms in for camera close-ups and takes freeze-frame snapshots that can be discussed with patient. This procedure can even be videotaped and later shown to the patient.
"Intra-oral cameras definitely improve communication between the dentist and the patient," says Paul Bussman, DMD, an Academy spokesperson. "Before, all the dentist could do visually was to use a light and a mirror to show a patient what was wrong. Now, we can take before-and-after shots for patients to compare, and even print you out a color image that you can take home," says Dr. Bussman.
Dr. Bussman reports that an added benefit of the intraoral camera is the way it inspires children to become more interested in their dental care. "The kids are much more relaxed about a procedure when they can see images of the treatment area first and get to take home pictures of their mouth to show family and friends."