8 Uses for Dental Photography

Patients often ask why we take photos, and especially why we take so many.  So for a quick summary of why you, as a dentist, should use digital photography in your practice, here you go:

1. Dental Insurance – it’s hard for an insurance adjuster to deny a claim of a tooth with a big hole in it from doing the endo, or showing the huge cavity, etc.

2. Case Presentation – whether using the iPad, PowerPoint, or whatever, you want an easy way to show patients what is going on in their mouths, whether it’s a single cracked tooth, periodontitis, bruxism, etc.

3. Diagnosis – it is IMO impossible to properly diagnose and treatment plan complex cases without good photography.

4. CYA – it’s unfortunate that I had to do so, but I have avoided several problems with the NC Board regarding patient complaints because I had a case thoroughly documented start-to-finish, thereby eliminating the patient’s ability to say I did poor dentistry.

5. Tracking Your Work Over Time – with keyword tagging, you can label your pictures and later do searches based on them to follow the success (hopefully!) of your treatment over years and decades.

6. Self-Improvement – it’s kind of tough to hide from yourself when the pictures are on a 24″ HD monitor or bigger.  Pictures don’t lie, and I know that I am motivated to do better when I take a picture and find some fault (however nitpicky) that I didn’t see before dismissing the patient.

7. Lab Communication – it’s a LOT easier to communicate with a lab about shade, contour, etc. using high-quality photographs than trying to draw it out on paper.

8. Showcase Your Work to Patients – it’s far more effective to show patients considering some treatment photos of YOUR work than of someone else’s, especially on the Web.