With the current advanced technology in dentistry, many patients, especially the young generation, are familiar with technology and prefer high tech dental practices. One of the advanced technologies that are changing the face of routine appointments is intraoral cameras. Because not all dental conditions cause pain or have visual signs, patients might wonder what the dentist saw that led to the diagnosis.

Thankfully, at Northridge Dentist, we use an intraoral camera that enables our team of professionals to view clear and detailed images of your teeth and gingiva to make a correct diagnosis. Besides, the camera is connected to a TV screen or computer monitor next to your dental chair, giving you visual evidence you need to understand your diagnosis and make an informed treatment decision.

What is an Intraoral Camera?

Intraoral cameras are tiny devices, usually a few millimeters long, allowing dentists to have a closer look at your smile. The device is inserted comfortably in your mouth, enabling the dentist to show you straightforward and enlarged photos of the outside of your teeth and gums on a TV or computer screen. The cameras are located at the intraoral wand tip and send real-time images and videos for you and the dentist to view.

Intraoral cameras are different from x-rays because they only show the outside of your teeth and gums,, while x-rays show images of your teeth and jawbone. Dental x-rays were introduced in dentistry in the 1890s, while intraoral cameras gained popularity in the 1990s. After a few dentists began using the devices, others followed as they realized this advanced technology would revolutionize dental care and diagnosis. At Northridge Dental, we recommend using this powerful tool during all routine appointments to get visual evidence that we use to educate patients and make accurate diagnoses.

Why Choose Intraoral Cameras?

It’s challenging to access all the corners and angles in your mouth using naked eyes. Even with a special light or mirror, we only obtain a shadowed view of your teeth. Other times, you might not understand the reason for undergoing a sophisticated dental procedure, mainly if you are not experiencing any pain or symptoms of a severe dental condition because of a lack of visual evidence. However, with intraoral cameras, both the dentist and patient get to see a zoomed real-time image or video of every detail of your mouth instead of the dentist showing you pictures of x-rays or explaining things that you can’t understand.  Also, the device enables you to see the dentist’s diagnosis and the reason for it.

What are the Main Uses of Intraoral Cameras?

Dentists utilize intraoral cameras in many routine procedures to provide an honest evaluation. Discussed below are some of the primary uses of intraoral cameras:

  1. Oral Cancer Screening

At Northridge Dentist, we use intraoral cameras to screen patients who are more susceptible to oral cancer. These patients include heavy drinkers and smokers. Some of the symptoms of oral cancer include tumors and lesions. We use cameras to identify these symptoms and capture their images in enlarged details. These photos are later sent to an oral cancer specialist who conducts analysis and diagnosis of the patient’s oral condition. The advantage of images generated by intraoral cameras is that they contain accurate details and measurements of the lumps and abrasions. The diagnosis made by experts who rely on these images is more accurate than the diagnosis of conventional dentists and cancer experts who are dependent on what they see with their naked eye.

Apart from cancer, these devices help expose other hidden oral conditions like periodontitis during the early stages before the situation gets out of hand.

  1. Dental Education

Dental hygienists and dentists use intraoral cameras to inspect the inside of your mouth during routine checkups. When they notice areas or conditions caused by inadequate oral hygiene, they capture images that explain and educate you about oral health. With the real-time images, you will see the situation clearly and discuss ways of preventing such illnesses in the future.

  1. Treatment Planning 

Regardless of how detailed your dentist is when explaining a dental condition, it’s simpler to understand if you can see. Dentists utilize intraoral cameras to explain how a dental disease has affected your teeth or gums and how a particular treatment can manage it. If, for instance, you have tooth decay, the image or video from the camera will show clearly, helping you understand why the dentist is recommending a particular treatment. If you were anxious about the complexity of a specific dental procedure, seeing why the dentist recommends the therapy will help you stay calm if at all, you were afraid of it.

  1. Eliminating Doubt

Some dentists might recommend a particular procedure even when it’s not necessary to make money. In case you are afraid, the treatment recommended by your dentist is not needed, seeing the images of the condition of the teeth or gums in the affected areas will help you understand why you need the treatment, thus eliminating uncertainty.

  1. Evaluating Progress

Some treatments take time before the results are visible. The intraoral camera takes images and videos on the condition, which becomes the basis of your oral disease. These images are documented for future use and can be referred to from time to time to assess whether a previous treatment has made any positive progress in your oral health. Also, the images from the camera help determine if you have obtained the desired outcome after treatment.

  1. Improved Patient-Dentist Relations

The relationship between a patient and a dentist is always at risk if the patient doesn’t trust the diagnosis or potential treatment procedure. In the past, dentists have had difficulties explaining to patients the reason for a particular treatment. On the other hand, patients have been forced to trust dentists so that a dental procedure can go on. Thankfully, intraoral cameras serve as diagnostic and educational tools.

They enable dentists to show in-time images and videos of a patient’s teeth or gums, allowing them to clearly understand the condition they are dealing with and the reason for the recommended procedure. This dental tool has established trust between patients and their dental experts, thus improving relationships and eliminating the anxiety associated with dental appointments.

  1. Enhances Dentist Credibility

In today’s generation, people conduct online research first before spending. They want to be convinced that what they are receiving is the best before making any financial decisions. Luckily, with our intraoral cameras, we can develop strong patient-dentist relations. The cameras will help the dentist explain to you using pictures and videos the condition that is affecting your gums or teeth, and the best treatment for it. The cameras create trust between the dentist and the patient. And once the customer is happy, the credibility of a dental practice improves.

Apart from the images and videos produced by intraoral cameras creating awareness and understanding of your oral condition, they help business agents. Insurance coordinators can use the images to support their insurance claim, increasing the chances of compensation. Remember, if your insurance company covers your treatment, you must provide concrete evidence of the type of treatment and its reason. The images and videos from the cameras are strong evidence that will speed up the claim and save both you and the insurer time.

Additionally, treatment coordinators can use images and share them with all the concerned parties to ensure they understand the case.

Intraoral Camera Procedure

An intraoral camera is a small device, pen’s size, fitted with a lens, and a light at one tip and a cord leading to a computer or TV screen on the other end. Remember that it’s difficult to see particular angles or corners of the inside of your mouth even when the lights are brightest in the dental office. The light fitted at the tip of the wand is,, therefore, critical in identifying a dental condition. The intra-wand is threaded in your mouth, capturing images of the teeth and gums, transmitting it to the monitor or TV screen where you and the dentist can see. Northridge Dentit’s intraoral cameras allow dentists to freeze the shots they are interested in and analyze them later. The images captured by the camera are often clear because of the light. For this reason, many dental practices prefer this modern tool than headlamps and mirrors which made it difficult to see the clear situation inside the mouth.

The cameras allow dentists to take before and after pictures enabling you to appreciate the aesthetic difference caused by a particular oral treatment. At Northridge Dentist, we sort, enlarge and store these pictures in a file for better diagnosis and future records. When you walk into our dental office, we will request you to stay calm on a dental chair as the camera threads throughout your mouth. While doing this, you won’t experience any pain or discomfort. Also, as the images appear on the computer monitor, we will be asking questions about what you see and the concerns you might have.

Intraoral Cameras vs. Extraoral Cameras 

Extraoral cameras were introduced way before intraoral cameras were invented. The extraoral cameras continued to be used even after the invention of intraoral cameras. However, intraoral cameras gained more popularity among dental practices because they could go inside the mouth and produce quality images that made diagnosis easy and accurate.

Besides, intraoral cameras are faster and display images on the computer monitor or TV screen almost immediately. However, when it comes to extraoral cameras, they require a manual set of retractors, adjustment of mirrors, and downloading the shots taken into a computer software. With all the steps involved to get the outcome, extraoral cameras are time consuming and hectic.

In contrast, intraoral cameras are automatic, which makes them fast. They save both the dentist and patient a lot of time and energy.

How have Intraoral Cameras Advanced Technology Wise Over the Years?

As stated earlier, intraoral cameras gained popularity in the 1990s but were introduced in the 1980s. During this time, using the cameras was difficult, plus they occupied a lot of space. The tiny intra-wand that is inserted in your mouth today wasn’t the only component of the cameras. A colossal video processor box, monitor, floppy disk, and a dedicated keyboard were the other components. The cameras also had VCR for storing videos. Considering the current technology in these cameras today, every part of these cameras was large apart from the wand whose size has not changed.

The cost of purchasing the first version of intraoral cameras was also high because it cost around $40,000. As years passed, the design and functionality of this device continued improving, making it more user friendly. A USB connection replaced the big connection box while introducing diagnostic image resolution and LED lighting made this dental tool more attractive.

Today, an intraoral camera is the size of a pen, and it performs manifolds of functions. More dentists and other dental professionals have purchased the equipment because even the cost has dropped to $5,000 from the initial $40,000. Additionally, cloud-storage has enabled dental practices to upload the images captured during an appointment so that patients can view them later in the comfort of their homes and ask questions or give recommendations. 

The current version of these cameras has extraordinary features, including multiple and improved autofocus. Dentists don’t need photographers or photography skills to operate these cameras or produce quality images. The cameras do all the work, including focusing the right amount of light on a particular area to create quality images. The standard features of current cameras include:

  • Camera focus that is fixed or variable
  • Periodontal attachment probes
  • LED lighting
  • Exclusive imaging software
  • Finger image capture switches
  • Angle views ranging from zero to ninety degrees
  • A single tooth foot
  • SC card storage

With many options for these cameras available, it’s up to the dentist to pick the version they prefer. One of the best intraoral cameras today is CS-1500 because it delivers real-time and precise images for every shot.

Benefits of Using Intraoral Cameras

Intraoral cameras have become a crucial part of many dental practices because of its advanced technology and new exclusive features. Interestingly,these cameras involve patients in the diagnosis process, enabling them to understand their condition and the reason for the recommended dental procedure.

Similarly, the intra-wand in these cameras is very efficient in a dental office and doesn't cause discomfort when threading through the mouth because of its lightweight. The quality images and videos produced by the cameras have also made the diagnosis more accurate. Dentists can consult with other dentists or doctors to better understand a case by sharing and evaluating the videos and images captured by intraoral cameras. Other benefits of these cameras include:

Easy to Share and Use

Another benefit of having these cameras in practice is that anybody can use them to conduct an intraoral evaluation, capture images, and videos, and display them on a monitor or TV screen. With the wireless version of these cameras, you can freely move within the office without interfering with connectivity. There is also the wired version where a USB connection is used to connect the camera and the PC or TV screen absent of a docking station. It enables several examination rooms in the same dental practice to share the same camera. 

Better Image Quality

An intraoral camera like CS-1500 provides a large depth of view, which is necessary for producing quality images. The cameras capture clear shots with exact image resolution and a broad focus range. These explicit videos and pictures help patients understand their conditions faster and available options. They provide a perfect way of educating patients about various dental conditions, treatment options, and how to prevent similar problems in the future.

Genuine Automation

The camera’s autofocus works by instinctively focusing based on the distance between the camera and the area being filmed, thus eliminating the need for manual adjustments. Additionally, the 8-LED lighting system automatically adjusts to the examination room’s illumination conditions, to maximize lighting and contrast levels.

Unprecedented Usability

The latest version of intraoral cameras has highly user-friendly manual adjustments, and image capturing is necessary, thus making them faster and easier to use. The ergonomically designed and lightweight handpiece is comfortable in either hand and threads through the mouth quickly accessing all corners, even those that seem impossible to reach. These cameras’ unparalleled usability is further enhanced by the single image capture button that produces high-resolution images and sends them to your PC or SD card automatically.

Choosing a Dental Practice that will Treat you Using Intraoral Cameras

Finding a new dentist equipped with diagnostic tools like intraoral cameras and other advanced technologies is not easy. You probably don’t know what to look for in a practice that offers these services.

Advancement in technology has revolutionized the dentistry field, with many dentists adopting the latest technology and equipment. If you are looking for a clinic to take care of you and your family’s oral needs, then you need to find professionals who have embraced advanced technology. Discussed below are tips on how to spot a dental practice that embraces Intraoral cameras:

  1. Research Online

Most people looking for dental practice begin by checking online. Although this might seem like an obvious thing, it is an excellent place to start your search. Visit a few websites that you are interested in and check how they operate. Focus on finding a dental clinic that uses advanced technology and has some of the latest diagnostic tools like intraoral cameras. The good thing with online research is that you don’t need a dental expert to explain to you what a practice with advanced technology looks like.

For instance, at Northridge Dentist, we have listed our services on the website, and intraoral cameras are on the list. The technology that has been around for around 25 years, but advancements have made this technology an integral part of diagnostics in the dentistry field. If you are interested in an accurate and simple way of diagnosing dental conditions, then you should contact our offices. Our dentists use the intraoral cameras to capture clear images that result in correct diagnosis.

  1. Read Online Reviews

Although some reviews are biased, reading through customer reviews can give you insight on the kind of services a dental practice provides. If you come across valuable reviews, read them. They will help you learn the experiences of those who have worked with the dental practice in the past. If the customers seem and claim that the practices use modern technology like intraoral cameras, you are at the right place. However, if you come across reviews where customers complain about a lack of credibility and wrong diagnosis, you should automatically know that the dentist doesn’t use intraoral cameras during diagnosis.

  1. Inquire about Specific Dental Care Options

Suppose you already know about intraoral cameras and how they help diagnose, you can contact the dental practices on your list and find out if all dental examinations are done using this diagnostic tool. If you opt for a dentist that lacks this equipment, then you will have trust issues, especially if the dentist makes a diagnosis or potential dental procedure that you were not expecting.

  1. Check the Dentist’s Gallery

Dentists who utilize intraoral cameras during examination usually upload pictures for the current and prospective customers to see. These galleries contain before and after pictures which clearly show the condition of the affected area before treatment and the progress or outcome after treatment. If a practice claims to use this equipment in diagnosis but lacks a single picture they have captured using the camera, then that is a red flag, and you should look elsewhere.

Find the Right Dental Practice Near Me

Intraoral cameras have brought a new dawn in the dentistry field. The credibility of dentists has improved because of the few patients questioning the accuracy of diagnosis and treatment. The best way to accept a dental procedure is if you believe a problem exists. The intraoral cameras help you see where the problem is and why a specific treatment is right. At Northridge Dentist, we perform all oral examinations using these cameras, which makes our dental services the best. Call us today at 818-875-0216 for more inquiries on this tool or to make an appointment.