Visualizing the entire mouth with a traditional mouth mirror can sometimes be challenging. In order to gain more detailed images of the gums and teeth, Dr. Scott Williams and his team may recommend the use of an intraoral camera. This advanced diagnostic tool is painless and non-invasive yet can provide us with valuable information.
What is an Intraoral Camera?
Breaking down the name of this device, “intra” means within, and “oral” means mouth; therefore, an intraoral camera is a camera that takes photos within your mouth. It is a slender wand that Dr. Williams uses to image hard-to-reach areas. These oral areas typically include rear molars and gums and can help identify small yet destructive cracks or other issues. The naked eye often misses these hard-to-reach areas; therefore, the intraoral camera allows Dr. Williams to provide you with the best dental care today. Identifying any hidden problems early on can save you potentially uncomfortable and costly procedures in the future.
The wand is essentially the size of a toothbrush. It features a very small, high-quality camera on one side of the wand tip with a light that illuminates the desired area of interest. Live footage from the camera is viewed on a computer screen in real-time, allowing our team to take diagnostic images that can also be viewed later. This also means less time in the dental chair for you!
What to Expect From An Intraoral Camera Procedure
Your intraoral camera procedure may be performed during a routine exam or scheduled for a later date. Because the procedure is completely painless, there is no need for local anesthetic (a numbing agent) or sedation.
Dr. Williams begins by prepping the high-tech device and placing a sheath over the camera. This plastic protective layer provides a barrier between your mouth and the intraoral camera. Although we clean the camera wand thoroughly between patients, using the protective wand sheath removes any risk of infection transmission. The soft texture also allows for a comfortable experience for our patients.
Our team will instruct you to open your mouth, as you would for any other dental exam. Dr. Williams will use the intraoral camera to explore all areas within your mouth. He can visualize the camera viewing area on a computer screen in real-time. We have a detailed method of capturing photos of specific areas, which we complete with each patient. Should he require a closer look at any given area, he may instruct you to slightly close your mouth or turn your head. Any instructions will be communicated with you in detail during the process.
This entire process varies from patient to patient; however, it typically takes no more than 10 to 20 minutes. After all images have been captured, Dr. Williams will review the images and may make recommendations based on the diagnostic findings.
Benefits of Capturing Intraoral Images
There are endless benefits associated with the use of the non-invasive intraoral camera, including:
- Saved Images. One of the top advantages of using the intraoral camera is the ability for our patients to see exactly what is going on in their mouths. All images captured will be added to your medical record and available to you and any future dentists or doctors with your authorization.
- Insurance claims. Insurance companies can also view real photos of dental issues, which can help minimize the risk of claim denials.
- Painless. The procedure is completely painless. Although you will be asked to hold your mouth open for several minutes, the device will not touch your mouth at any point. There is no need for local anesthetic needles or sedation with this procedure.
- Radiation-free. Although dental radiographs are a very powerful diagnostic tool, they do emit a small amount of radiation to the patient. The intraoral camera does not use any such radiation to acquire images; therefore, it is safe for each and every patient, including pregnant women.
- Immediate diagnostic results. The high-quality images procured allow Dr. Williams to make an immediate diagnosis based on the findings. He can then recommend treatment or procedures to address any dental issues or refer you to another specialist if indicated.
- Fast. The intraoral camera procedure is incredibly fast. Dr. Williams can snap the photos he needs in mere minutes, allowing you to avoid a long, stressful wait in the dental chair.
Dental Concerns Easily Identified by the Intraoral Camera
Given the powerful illuminating light on the intraoral camera and the ability to access areas that are often hidden from view, Dr. Williams can identify a number of concerning issues. By diagnosing these problems early, it can save you from potentially painful and expensive procedures further down the line. Some of the most common concerns Dr. Williams discovers with the intraoral camera include:
- Hidden cracks in teeth
- Unseen tooth decay
- Chips to rear molars
- Concealed gum disease
- Potential oral cancers
Powerful Imaging with a Small, Painless Camera
The Ascent Family Dental team is thrilled to offer intraoral camera services to both our new and existing patients. This innovative tool will allow you to spend less time in the chair while we can provide you with even better oral care. If you have any questions regarding the intraoral camera or any of our other diagnostic dental tools, please reach out to our compassionate team.