They say seeing is believing. So is not seeing, not believing?
Well in some cases yes!
That's where medical devices like X-rays and intraoral cameras come into their own.
Patients often don't know or understand what procedures or treatments are required to address their problems. They are also apprehensive of the costs and being "sold" unnecessary treatments by their practitioners, especially when money is tight.
Similarly, dental practitioners can only diagnose and treat what they can see. While loupes, X-rays and bulky microscopes may be of assistance in this respect, most examinations are still made by eye with just the help of a dental mirror.
This has proven ineffective in picking up problems, especially early interventions in asymptomatic cases. While many dentists and oral health therapists are confident in their visual assessments, even they "cannot see what they cannot see".
Case in point is small fissures and failing restorations covering carious tissue and micro-cracks which may be allowing bacteria to enter the pulp or root.
Sometimes these fissures are completely benign. At other times they may be covering early onset caries and painful tooth decay. And not all are picked up by X-rays.
As one of the world's leading medical imaging equipment manufacturers, Acteon has developed a range of easy to use and precise intraoral cameras to aid clinicians in their diagnosis.
See what lies beneath
Increasingly, intraoral cameras are being used for patient education and importantly, for the practitioner, are invaluable in increasing case acceptance. This makes the choice of a high-quality camera with additional built-in caries detector such as the unique SoproLIFE from Acteon a wise choice, both clinically and economically - providing a return on investment many times over.
Being able to display an image on the patient monitor has proven quite a game changer in many practices, according to A-dec Product Manager, Angie Wong.
"Many of our SoproLIFE customers are telling us that they no longer have to 'sell' treatments to patients," she said. "Instead, the patients gain trust in the dentist and are very willing to have their procedures performed and are even 'self-diagnosing' some of their own oral health issues by what they can see, including cosmetic treatments."
Sopro's Macrovision provides up to 110 times magnification, revealing details otherwise not visible to the naked eye or with X-rays. This enables close monitoring of micro fractures and their development. Images can be captured at the swipe of a finger.
The resultant images displayed on a video screen provide a strong visual indicator of problem areas such occlusal or interproximal decay - even in its earliest stages, together with demineralised dentine that is not visible to the naked eye or on X-ray images.
Healthy dentine glows bright green under fluorescence, while areas of demineralised dentine range from dull green to grey, indicating potential future trouble spots.
In "diagnostic" mode, caries - which may be hidden behind benign looking pits and fissures - glows dark red on the video monitor, indicating a problem requiring further investigation.
When used in close-up "treatment" mode during actual excavation of the tooth, SoproLIFE displays the extent of caries by the intensity of colour of the affected dentine. Angry red material indicates high-level caries infection, while orange shows affected scar tissue that may be conserved.
Minimally invasive dentistry
The level of clinical detail obtained by SoproLIFE supports minimally invasive dentistry where only seriously infected caries is removed and as much natural tooth as possible can be preserved to encourage healing of the remaining tooth structure for a stronger restoration.
SoproLIFE is also a clear winner in patient education and case acceptance as it paints a powerful graphic image of the problems identified and enables "before" and "after" comparisons of teeth under examination.
All Sopro cameras provide an invaluable medico-legal record of all treatments performed. This is especially useful with new patients or those that have been referred on to establish a baseline of oral health.
Build patient trust
When used in this way, Sopro cameras build patient trust and confidence in the practitioner. It is truly a case of "seeing is believing" and strongly underpins case acceptance.
Experience has shown displaying these images to patients, involves them in case presentation and acceptance, making Sopro an extremely useful "practice builder" and education tool.
The SoproLIFE camera can be built into most A-dec delivery systems so it is instantly available at your fingertips or can connect via USB to a laptop to display live images.
Since its launch, SoproLIFE has successfully been implemented internationally and is a world leader in its field. It has won many awards and is even used as a reference for diagnosis in many prestigious universities.