The use of photographs in the dental clinics like ours in Murcia is something that always attracts the attention of patients, especially those who are more reluctant to show their smile, who often ask if it is really essential. However, dental photographs have become a tool that has gone beyond the value of the 'useful' to transcend the value of the 'fundamental', as we have already mentioned, due to many reasons.
In this article we are going to try to explain all the reasons behind a statement like this, as well as list the type of photography used in the practice of dentistry.
WHY THEY ARE SO USEFUL TO THE DOCTOR
A photograph is an essential resource for a dentist because of the obvious: a well-taken picture shows to the millimetre The oral anatomy of the patient as it really is, showing even the tiniest details. They allow us to consult it later, without the need to have the patient close by, document the dentist's work and facilitate communication with both the dental laboratory and the patient more efficiently.
Let's not forget that the patient can also observe even the tiniest details of his own anatomy through a quality, well-taken photograph, which makes it easier for him to understand the treatment and why and how we are going to do it the way we are doing it. Already in the thesis of 1983 spoke of the importance of photography as a record in dental clinics, stating that ".These preserve all clinical features of the patient and are much simpler and more effective than a long verbal description.".
They are invaluable as a graphic dossier, analysing and detailing the evolution of clinical cases from the patient's first visit to the clinic to the last, thus adding value to these records and diagnoses.
WHY THEY ARE SO USEFUL FOR THE CLINIC
The dental clinic is still a provider of services, even though they are part of the healthcare sector. That is why photographs are especially relevant for the external communication of the clinic, as they are a powerful marketing tool. Before and after images have a commercial and advertising function that sometimes becomes essential to reach more potential patients, something that continues to increase exponentially year after year thanks to social networks.
Moreover, with the possibilities offered today, thanks to these photographs, doctors can create simulations and treatment plans to show patients, which undoubtedly increases not only the added value of the clinic itself, but also the percentage of treatment acceptance in patients, especially in those who drink from the most aesthetic branch of dentistry.
TYPES OF PHOTOGRAPHS IN DENTAL CLINICS
The kind of photographs used in a dental clinic can be basically classified as follows three typesIntra-oral, extra-oral and complementary.
Fextraoral otographyA full-face scan: This is where the image we take with the camera shows the patient's entire face. It is used in many areas of dentistry, such as dental aesthetics, orthodontics or even maxillofacial surgery. We could distinguish, in turn, two other subclasses of photographs, frontal and lateral.
Frontal extraoral photographs are those in which the patient faces the lens in an upright or semi-upright position. Depending on the purpose for which we want to use the photograph, we may need to place separators in the corners of the mouth to separate the oral tissue from the teeth or gum, if we want it to appear, although normally in dental aesthetics and orthodontics the patient's own natural smile is preferred.
Lateral extraoral photographs, however, are those that are taken from the patient's side, with the patient's head turned towards the photographer or, on the contrary, with the view to the front (but the photographer on the other side) if we want to take the patient's left side.
Intraoral photographyAs the name suggests, these are images in which the inside of the patient's mouth is captured, in order to capture some detail more efficiently. This type of photography requires intraoral mirrors, which can be of different sizes or shapes, in order to capture areas that are difficult to access. This type of image can be used to photograph inlays, implants, root canals... basically any type of localised intervention in a specific piece or area.
Intraoral photographs are also considered to be those which, with the aid of oral retractors, show the occlusal area of the patient, which are so useful and indispensable for orthodontics.
Fotoplementary photographsAlthough these photographs are rarely seen by patients, they are indispensable in the day-to-day work of many dental clinics, which are used to working with them. This category includes any image that does not show the patient himself. For example, they could be photographs of their clinical record (to classify images), x-rays, models or the material or instruments used during an operation... the possibilities are many and varied.