Friday, July 1, 2016

A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words

Today, we find ourselves operating in a world with continuous transformation. As doctors of the oral cavity, we are faced with the daunting task of providing each and every patient with the utmost care. Our career is fraught with constant change, and it is incumbent upon us as dentists to approach the “latest and greatest” technology and materials with caution.

There is no question that various technologies, including the use of digital radiography and intraoral cameras, have enhanced the clinician’s diagnostic capabilities and simplified the process of patient education. Both of these technological tools have provided an accurate and tremendous record for future recall. Further, the combination of both digital X-rays and intraoral cameras can substantially reduce insurance company denials and/or delays in processing pre-authorizations for fractured teeth, the need for cuspal coverage when posterior alloys exceed one-third to half the intercuspal width, and more. It’s difficult to dispute color intraoral pictures that reveal vertical fractures, open cavosurface margins, caries, calculus, soft tissue pathology, etc.

I have found that when the clinician and dental team fully embrace and incorporate the use of intraoral cameras with high-definition large-screen monitors, case acceptance soars. The implementation and systematic use of intraoral cameras are one of the most beneficial and valuable pieces of technology available today, and regular use of it can serve as an educational adjunct to great verbal skills, resulting in increased case acceptance, and, in most instances, an irrefutable record for future inquiries.

Here’s an example: A patient presents with a fractured cusp, sensitive to percussion, and fails to remember your recommendation for full coverage months prior. If used regularly, the intraoral cameras and high-definition monitors can assist the patient in understanding the condition of his or her dentition and/or soft tissue and create a sense of accountability.

I have documented more than 40 uses for extra-oral and intraoral cameras, including before-and-after pictures that show the quality of your work. In 2008, we introduced this technology in our practice and experienced an increase in our production and collections of more than 40 percent.

Duke Aldridge, DDS, MBA

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