We use cookies to give you the best online experience. Read more about cookies using the links at the bottom. By using our sites, you agree to our use of cookies.

A picture is worth a thousand words – why you should take intraoral pictures

Posted by admin 28/09/2017 0 Comment(s)

Dental photography is becoming an essential part of the day to day practice for many dentists. With growing number of complaints, investigations and litigations it may prove to be the most cost effective investment of your equipment. We’ve heard of cases being dismissed by GDC investigating panel after pictures taken before a treatment were presented. Despite that, many practitioners are still reluctant to implement photography in their practices for a variety of reasons. The main are: lack of knowledge of photographic equipment and techniques; fear that it will interrupt the work and, lastly - cost.


Many articles have been published in magazines and online that suggest which equipment to use and outline the photographic techniques. However, hands-on courses are probably the best tool to learn the necessary techniques in shortest of time. Please contact us and we can recommend you the courses nearest to you.


In the era of the “evidence based dentistry”, you should always take photos before the treatment procedures and after them. If you can document the results of your work with images, you will safeguard yourself from legal actions. When you know the technique, it will only take around two minutes to take all the necessary photos, with no additional cost and you could save thousands of pounds, your reputation and many sleepless nights.


Medico-legal reasons are not the only reasons why you should implement taking photographs into your daily routine. Others include:


- Diagnosis and treatment planning – digital camera is great magnifying glass. If, for example, you can’t find the mesiobuccal root canal, just take a dental macro photo and enlarge it on your monitor or tablet. You will then see in clear detail what your naked eye couldn’t. Furthermore, intraoral photographs provide a static, in-depth look at the patient’s dentition that is easily compared with the patient’s other records.


- Specialist consultation/referral:  Attaching a picture when referring a patient to a specialist, either for further treatment or a second opinion is extremely helpful. It saves time trying to articulate findings of a visual examination and also allows the specialist to prioritise appointments, particularly in cases of suspected pre-cancerous or malignant lesions.


- Lab communication: A picture is worth a thousand words – No matter how detailed written specifications, instructions are, neither will be close to the amount of information which is included by a correctly taken photograph. Impressions and cast models may accurately provide information on tooth position and shape, but provides no information on tooth or gingival character, shade, or colour.


- Practice Marketing: Images do speak louder than words so use them to your advantage to maximise the practice’s profits. Before and after album in your waiting room or displayed on a TV is a powerful tool when it comes to marketing your practice to the patients waiting for the treatment. It can motivate them to pursue a treatment plan you suggested or a cosmetic procedure they liked. Emailing patients the before and after photos they could use on social media may have even greater effect.


- Smile Design: Aesthetic dentistry does not exist without dental portrait photography. With a little help of a tablet and skills you may learn on courses we can recommend, you could show a patient how his smile can look after the treatment. Show it next to the current photo (ie. the current state of smile) and it will give a powerful message which will make it hard to resist.


- Self-education and improvement: people learn the most from their own experience and mistakes. Photos are invaluable to record the results of your dental work and effectiveness of your treatments.


- Publications and presentations: photography is an integral part of lecturing for those wishing to pursue the academic path or for those giving lectures and running courses. Having a practice or dentist profiled or published in the dental literature adds reputation and prestige to that practice/dentist.


We will be organizing hands-on courses on dental photography. If you are interested in attending it, please email us and we would send you more details.


Please also read our guide for buying dental photography mirrors and accessories.

Leave a Comment