By Paul Feurstein, DMD
The use of an intraoral camera is invaluable for documentation, diagnosis and patient education. Although there are many in the marketplace, few excel in resolution, lighting and ability to zoom in on specific areas. When a patient presents with a broken tooth, the dental professional merely has to show the image on a screen, and in many instances, the patient actually makes the preliminary diagnosis. Fractures, broken restorations, missing cusps, etc. are all obvious to the patient, allowing the dentist to explain the type of restoration necessary. Less obvious issues might be incipient caries or gingival inflammation. Here is where the SoproCARE device becomes a Swiss army knife of diagnosis and education.
The optical quality and LED lighting of the SoproCARE are among the best. The macro function is quite crisp in showing even subtle enamel or restoration fractures. Even in asymptomatic teeth, a patient can be alerted to existing fractures that may lead to larger problems. It is up to the practitioner’s (or often the patient’s) philosophy as to how proactive they should be with treatment.
The caries mode clearly shows red/black areas on a black and white background, allowing both the practitioner and patient to agree on treatment. There are still uncertainties when the practitioner finds a “stick” even in this day of digital radiography. Some lesions are not that obvious, making SoproCARE an invaluable tool.
It is important for a device like this to be available in all treatment rooms.
Gingival inflammation, plaque, and tartar are less clear with even the best resolution camera, but in the “Perio mode” of the SoproCARE these areas are “lit up.” The patient (and practitioner) sees dramatic highlighted areas, promoting improved home care as well as treatment.
It is important for a device like this to be available in all treatment rooms. The hygienists should have one for reinforcement during the recare appointments. The dental assistant can surely take an image when a patient is seated for treatment or an emergency, and of course, the dentist can take before, during and after pictures of treatment.
One of the side uses of the caries mode is its ability to detect caries during preparation to instantly see if there is any residual caries prior to completing the restoration or taking the impression. Acteon makes this availability easy by allowing each room to have the USB docking cable and software. The SoproCARE has a quick disconnect allowing the office to function with fewer units at the outset. This cable is also compatible with all Sopro cameras.
The bottom line is that if practitioners have this multi-use camera available at their fingertips, it will be used on almost every patient every day, and the office will wonder how it ever functioned without it.
About the Author: Paul Feuerstein, DMD received his undergraduate training at SUNY Stony Brook during the 1960s studying chemistry, engineering, computer science and music. He is a 1972 graduate of University of New Jersey School of Medicine and Dentistry (or UNJMD) who maintains a general practice in North Billerica, Massachusetts. He installed one of the first in-office computers in 1978 and has been teaching and consulting since then. He is currently the Technology Editor of Dental Economics, author of several technology articles and lectures at many national and local dental meetings. He was named Clinician of the Year at the 2010 Yankee Dental Congress and is an Adjunct Assistant Professor in General Dentistry at Tufts University.