Over the last three decades, imaging technologies have played an integral role in my approach to patient care. Before these technologies, many patients were motivated to treatment primarily by pain. Today, patients have the opportunity to view their dental condition in high definition and true color through DEXcam™ 4 HD digital camera images.
Our hygienist starts the conversation with the patient, and when I arrive in the operatory, the images are already on the screen, ready for my clinical opinion. These images build patients’ trust in my diagnosis, even before I enter the room.
This is my third generation digital camera, and it definitely rivals my 12-megapixel SLR camera for image quality. With its true-to-color images, patients can see natural color tones — pink and healthy gums or bleeding points of gum disease, and if teeth are white, black, or stained. With greater understanding, they can decide about appropriate treatment, absent of pain.
With DEXcam 4 HD, my team and I can view current images along with historical digital photographs and radiographs on the same screen. Patients see the progression of their dental condition and any results of delaying treatment. With this visual history, patients learn if their disease is chronic and progressive; a delay can lead to treatment that is potentially more extensive and more expensive.
Once patients are comfortable, we can begin a conversation about what they think they want or need alongside our recommendations. The most exciting part, for me, is when patients get so involved they reach out and touch the monitor. When they get interactive, I know they are really “getting it.”
The images are also very helpful in communicating with my lab. I can email multiple images with excellent resolution and color accuracy.
Digital images are also effective in insurance preauthorization. Our Dentrix®, DEXIS™ digital X-rays, and DEXcam 4 HD photos are fully integrated for filing e-claims. By sending radiographs, photographs, and intraoral photographs, we are not denied because of lack of documentation.
My real goal in using this imaging technology is to create a conversation that makes the patients feel comfortable and puts them in control of their dental future. I want them to mark up my monitor with fingerprints because they are so connected to being a part of their own treatment. My new camera and other digital imaging technologies allow me to be a part of patients’ visualization of a future of healthier teeth, gums, and extraordinary smiles.
Originally published in Sidekick Magazine
About the Author: Dr. Chuck Harding, a graduate of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, has lived in Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania since 1983. He is a Dawson Academy scholar and ambassador, lectures nationally, and writes about how fine dentistry and a relationship-based, health-focused philosophy can transform lives. Visit extraordinarysmiles.net to learn more. Dr. Harding has no financial interests in DEXIS, LLC.